Nowadays, that legend is about a Caldwell burger flipper who made it big as the “Madman of Rock and Roll.”
Paul was going to make it big, somewhere. As a teenager he ran three barber shops and that Caldwell burger joint, called Reed and Bell Drive-In (a root beer brand name, something like A&W). Seeing opportunity in rock and roll, he began promoting dances, which led to him putting together a little rock band. At first, it was all about promoting the drive-in. Then Revere, who was Paul Revere Dick at that time, decided to make a tape. He and the band recorded a few songs at a crude little studio, and Paul took the tape to Hollywood.
That first trip to Tinsel Town set a pattern that Paul Revere would follow again and again. He would often pack up copies of a new single and set out on his Harley to hit radio stations around the country to get them to play the records.
In an interview conducted by Dominic Priore for the Sundazed website, Paul said, “I’d see a radio tower stickin’ out of a pasture somewhere, I’d just pull in there and talk fast and convince whoever’s on the air to listen to my record and do a little interview and away I’d go to the next place.”
In January, 1971, just a year after KFXD in Nampa started playing rock full time, Tom Scott was working the board when Paul Revere pulled up on his bike and dug out a new record. He thought maybe “Dream Room” might be a hit. Tom played that one, as well as the flip side. It was the first time “Indian Reservation” by Paul Revere and the Raiders was heard on the radio. It would not be the last. The song went platinum, becoming Paul Revere and the Raiders’ only million-selling record, and their only hit to make it to number one on the Billboard chart.
Maybe Paul Revere thought “Indian Reservation” would be the B side because it was a cover. Written by John D. Loudermilk, Marvin Rainwater released it in 1959 as “The Pale Faced Indian.” No one noticed. But in 1968 Don Fardon took the song to number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.
One can safely say that Mark Lindsay, lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, was happy about the hit. “Indian Reservation” was subtitled, “The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian.” Lindsay, who went to Wilder High School, is part Cherokee.
There’s much more to tell about Paul Revere. Stay tuned for a few more tales. This is one of dozens of snippets I was able to find about Paul Revere in the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation newsletter As the Turntable Turns. Thanks to Foundation President Art Gregory. I encourage you to become a member of the Foundation. They’re working on a physical museum that will be in the old KFXD building in Nampa.