In 1961, when American garage bands could still make it with a regional hit, Paul Revere & the Raiders released their first single, "Like Long Hair," an essential cut for fans of early rock-and-roll instrumentals. The mop-topped Beatles hadn't reclaimed America for the British, and the expression "long-hair music" usually referred to the headier side of 18th-century classical, but in this case, the oracular title looked both forward and back. The disc, which opened and closed with the band's keyboardist and co-founder Paul Revere Dick pounding out some big, campy, classical-sounding chords, was otherwise a wild tangle of hot piano boogie and slicing surf guitars. It wasn't just rock — it was wit.
The British Invasion knocked most American garage music off the charts in '64, but the Raiders, who dressed in Revolutionary War garb, were able to take full advantage of the fact that they were natural comedians and named after a certain colonial silversmith who made the history books by announcing the original British invasion. The band stayed in the spotlight and even enlarged their profile by making regular appearances on Dick Clark's daily rock-and-roll TV show Where the Action Is and hosting the Clark-produced It's Happening.
The band scored hits with songs such as "Kicks (Just Keep Getting Harder To Find)," "Stepping Out," and "Hungry" and released its last major hit "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)" in 1971.
On Saturday, July 19th, 47 years and three months after the release of "Like Long Hair," Paul Revere & the Raiders play the River Palace Entertainment Center at Sam's Town Casino in Tunica.
Paul Revere & the Raiders, Saturday, July 19th, 8 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25 and can be purchased online at samstowntunica.com.