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January 31, 2008

RETRO RANT: Paul Revere and the Conundrums (or, who Raided the Raiders' rating?)

An Essay on Yesterday

Lately, as I do sometimes, I have become fascinated with a particular segment of pop music history, this time the strange case of Paul Revere and the Raiders. I recall some of their songs, mainly Kicks, Good Thing and Indian Reservation, but when reading their history I learn that they apparently sold many millions of records, some sources estimating as high as 50 million over the last 40 years or so. One source said they were only topped by the Beatles and the Stones for sales by 60s bands.

Yet, when I go to Borders or other local music stores, I find no Paul Revere cds. Not even a nameplate for them. Why arent Paul Revere and the Raiders given respect at least somewhere near that given the Beatles and Stones? (I mean, even Little Steven, of all people, hardly plays the Raiders, if at all!)

God bless Rhino's Nuggets, and iTunes, which feature the band -- but in general, it feels like Paul Revere may have been Raided from the history books (unlike the first Paul Revere). The bandleader Revere certainly isn't Revered by many popologists these days. At least that's how it seems.

So, question... what happened? Why is such a big selling band mostly ignored by the rock intelligentsia? Were they dismissed as pop fluff by those who always talk endlessly about (deservedly-praised) classics like Pet Sounds, Revolver and Pepper? Is their historical fate sorta like the Monkees -- bands acknowledged as having many hits, but not taken seriously enough due to their often-comic personas? (I believe both bands are absent from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, yet both sold millions and influenced many future bands).

Any thoughts welcome! --Don "Patrick Henry" Rose