The Internet has been abuzz over the weekend over the news that rock icon Paul Revere (organist and bandleader of the equally iconic, colonial-outfit-bedecked rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders) had passed away at his home in Idaho on October 4. He was 76.
The news first broke on the band’s website and Facebook page, accompanied by a touching tribute letter from a fan. No cause of death was given, but Revere mentioned last July that he was suffering from some health problems, and TMZ reports that he had been battling cancer for the past year.
Born Paul Revere Dick in 1938, Revere planted the seed for what would become Paul Revere & the Raiders in the late 1950s, forming a band in Boise, Idaho called The Downbeats with singer Mark Lindsay, and soon adopting their current moniker just before releasing their second record in 1960. In the decades that followed, the band enjoyed a string of hits, including a popular cover of “Louie Louie,” “Good Thing,” their anti-drug anthem “Kicks,” and their biggest-selling hit, 1971’s “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian).” The band’s outlandish Revolutionary-War style costuming, coupled with Revere’s own stage antics, garnered him the nickname “the madman of rock and roll.”
Hints of Revere’s illness first surfaced to the public last July, when he wrote a Facebook post sharing that he had been performing with the Raiders against doctor’s orders for some time and that he was finally forced to let the band play on without him for awhile.
“Even though I’ve had some health issues, nothing can stop the old man. I’m like the Energizer Bunny!” he said in the post. ” Well, you can’t ignore doctor’s orders forever, and I have to give in this time or these wonderful men and women might stop trying to help me.” Despite Revere’s mandated hiatus, the band itself has performances scheduled into next year.
RIP, Paul Revere. You will be sorely missed.