Paul Revere, the organist and leader of the long-running rock band Paul Revere & The Raiders, died this weekend at his home in Idaho. He was 76 years old. The cause of his death is still unconfirmed, but TMZ is reporting that Revere had been suffering from cancer for a year.
Born in Nebraska, Revere later moved to Idaho where he started an instrumental rock band called the Downbeats. That changed when he met singer Mark Lindsay, who joined the band in 1958. Having been re-christened Paul Revere & The Raiders by 1960, the band soldiered on without Revere for a short time while he worked at a kitchen in a mental institution after conscientiously objecting to service in Vietnam.
By the mid-1960s, the Raiders had honed their sound into a potent garage-rock/R&B hybrid, and they developed a distinct visual presence with their adoption of Revolutionary War-style costumes. They scored their biggest hit, “Kicks,” in 1966, and remained on the charts with the success of singles like “Hungry” and “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” In the 1970s, the band shortened their name to The Raiders and scored their biggest success with “Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian).” The song, which chronicled the forced relocation of the Cherokee tribes by the government, was the Raiders’ sole #1 hit.
In later years, The Raiders continued touring with various lineup changes, but Revere remained a constant. In a letter posted on The Raiders’ website, his current bandmates praised him for his continuous warmth and passion for music. “The world will be a lot less fun, a lot less kind and gentle without Paul Revere in it,” the letter reads. “Your larger-than-life absence will leave a void in our hearts and our lives.”