Behind the Band Name: Paul Revere & the Raiders

Despite arriving in the time of the British Invasion when rock acts like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits, and several others that were sweeping the nation, American pop-rock group Paul Revere & the Raiders still managed to carve out their own lane with their distinct blend of rock and roll and humor.

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Known for their vibrant onstage costumes that resembled Revolutionary War uniforms, the Raiders charted several hits throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. But how did they get their band name? We answer that question below.

Meaning Behind the Band Name

Though the band name bears resemblance to Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere, who famously warned the colonists about the British Army’s invasion, the band name actually stems from the birth name of its founder, Paul Revere Dick. The band formed in 1959 by Dick and frontman Mark Lindsay under the name the Downbeats. After getting a record deal with Columbia Records, executives disliked the name and insisted they change it, with Revere drawing inspiration from his own name for the band, removing his last name to create the stage name.

More than five years after their founding, Paul Revere & the Raiders rose to fame as the house band on the musical variety show Where the Action Is in 1965. The most well-known lineup consists of organist Revere, lead singer Lindsay, Phil Volk on bass, guitarists Drake Levin and Jim Valley, and drummer Mike Smith. Throughout their expansive career, the Raiders enjoyed several hits including “Just Like Me,” “Kicks,” “Hungry,” “Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” and “Indian Reservation,” the latter of which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.

“Somebody from [Clark’s] company had seen us and recommended us because we were visual and fun and crazy and were America’s answer to the British music invasion,” Revere told Associated Press in 2000 about the band’s success. “Had we come along earlier, it would have been too early. If we’d have come along later, it would have been too late. We just happened to be at the right time and had the right name and had the right gimmick.”

“The first thing people think of with Paul Revere & the Raiders are these guys jumping around in these goofy suits, and they forget the music,” Lindsay said to Houston Press in 2011 about the group’s signature outfits. “If you could hear that without thinking of the lace dickeys hanging from our necks, you might take us a bit more seriously.”

Despite numerous lineup changes over the years, with many of the original band members including Lindsay embarking on solo careers, the Raiders continued to release albums up until 2011.

(Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

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