The 60s Official Site Blog

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Mark Lindsay, Where Is He Now?

I stumbled across the website for Paul Revere and The Raiders the other day and discovered that Mark Lindsay and about all the original members are no longer with the Raiders. So what happened to Mark Lindsay, who I thought made Paul Revere and the Raiders the band they were?

I guess the best place is to start at the beginning of Mark's career and then expose where he is and what he is doing now. It may surprise many of you.

Mark Lindsay began performing at the age of fifteen with local bands that played local venues. He was tapped to sing in a band called Freddy Chapman and the Idaho Playboys after he won a local talent contest. After Chapman left the area, Lindsay saw the other band members and a new member, Paul Revere, playing at a local I.O.O.F. (International Order of Odd Fellows) Hall. He persuaded the current band to allow him to sing a few songs with them. The next day he was working at his regular job at a bakery when Paul Revere came in to buy supplies for a hamburger restaurant that he owned. This chance meeting began their professional relationship.

Lindsay became lead singer and saxophone player in a band with Revere and several others. He suggested they call themselves "The Downbeats" after a magazine with the same title. They made some demo tapes in 1960 in Boise, Idaho, and signed with a record company called Gardena Records.

Paul Revere and the Raiders scored their first national hit with the piano/sax instrumental "Like, Long Hair" which peaked at #38 in the Billboard charts on April 17th, 1961.

After changing personnel a few more times, the band recorded the song "Louie, Louie" about the same time that a rival Northwestern band, The Kingsmen, recorded the song. The Kingsmen version was the one that charted nationally, but Mark and his fellow band mates were gaining attention, also.

Around the time "Louie, Louie" was recorded, they decided to use Paul Revere's name as a gimmick and bill themselves as Paul Revere & the Raiders. They began to dress in Revolutionary War-style outfits. Mark Lindsay carried the theme a bit further by growing his hair out and pulling it back into a ponytail, which has become his signature look.

Lindsay and the group caught the attention of Dick Clark, who was creating an afternoon show for the teen market. Clark hired the group to perform on the show, which was called Where the Action Is. The TV show's opening song was recorded by Freddy Cannon as you may recall. As regulars on the show, the group soon became very successful. Mark Lindsay's lanky stature and good looks, as well as his excellent singing voice, quickly gained him immense popularity; he became one of the premier American teen idols of the 1960s.

Lindsay soon started working not only as the singer of the group, but also as a composer and producer. The Raiders were the first rock group signed by Columbia Records and were produced by Terry Melcher, the son of actress and singer Doris Day. Lindsay and Melcher became friends. They shared a house for a while, which would later become infamous as site of the horrific murders of actress Sharon Tate and others, committed by members of Charles Manson's "family."

By 1968, Lindsay had completely taken over the writing and producing tasks for the group. Paul Revere & the Raiders had a revolving cast of band members, with only Revere and Mark Lindsay remaining in the group since its inception. Where the Action Is had passed into television history. Dick Clark had created another show, Happening 68, which was to be hosted by Paul Revere and Mark Lindsay and feature the group. The group itself was featured prominently in this show, whereas in Where the Action is, the entire group was part of an ensemble of other musical performers. Happening '68 premiered in January 1968. The show was so popular that the group also hosted a daily version over the summer of 1968, called It's Happening. Happening '68 survived into 1969, at which point the name of the show became Happening. The show was canceled in October 1969.

By this time, like many other groups, Mark Lindsay and his bandmates were trying to maintain their success, but were also exploring other opportunities. Lindsay began to record solo records and to produce records for his fellow bandmate, Freddy Weller, who would go on to have his own solo success in the country music genre.

Mark Lindsay had some success with such songs as "Arizona" (Billboard #9--Gold single) and "Silverbird" (Billboard #25) in 1970 . He recorded "Indian Reservation", a song written by John Loudermilk years earlier, to be a solo recording, but the decision was made to release the song under the name "The Raiders" and it went on to be the only number one song in the group's history. He continued to chart solo singles throughout 1970-71 ("Miss America" (#44--May 1970), "And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind" (#44--November 1970), "Problem Child" (#80--January 1971), "Been too Long On the Road" (#98--June 1971) and "Are You Old Enough" (#87--October 1971).

Mark Lindsay kept his profile up by appearing on The Carpenters television variety show Make Your Own Kind of Music, as well as singing the themes to films Something Big (1972) and Jody, the theme from Santee (1973-credited to The Raiders).

By the mid-seventies the group no longer sold as many records as they once had, and both Lindsay and the Raiders lost their Columbia contract. Mark Lindsay officially left the group in 1975 when he and Paul Revere apparently had different visions for the group and their own individual pursuits. He did make a few more appearances in 1976 for some Bicentennial performances, as well as a Dick Clark produced reunion with his Action era band mates in 1977.

According to a Rolling Stone interview (conducted in 1985), Lindsay left The Raiders because "there was a contractual thing I didn't agree with, and I just stopped."  Lindsay continued to record solo singles for a few years (for Warner Bros., Elka and Greedy) before retiring from performing to serve as head of A&R for United Artists Records. He contributed to the recordings of artists such as Gerry Rafferty (on "Baker Street"), Kenny Rogers, and others. His accomplishments also included composing jingles for commercials (including Baskin Robbins, Datsun, Kodak, Pontiac and Levi's among others) and scores for motion pictures. He contributed both his voice and his musical compositions to advertisements for companies such as Yamaha, which used the music from "Silverbird" as the background to one of its commercials. He also composed music for the movies For Pete's Sake and The Love Machine, sung by Barbra Streisand and Dionne Warwick, respectively, and for a 1982 documentary, The Killing of America, as well as a song for the movie Savage Streets. In 1980 he dubbed a voice and co-wrote the musical score (with W. Michael Lewis) for the American version of the Japanese movie Shogun Assassin.

Lindsay made some appearances in 1985 in conjunction with the centennial of the Statue of Liberty (backed by the sixties jazz/rock band Spirit, and began to tour on his own again. In 1989 he quietly began recording at Kiva Studios (now House of Blues Studios of Memphis) in Memphis, Tennessee with friend Michael Bradley. Although the album Looking for Shelter was not picked up for national release, Lindsay made the album available for fans through his website in 2003.

In the early nineties he met the group, The Chesterfield Kings in Rochester, New York, on one of his tours, and later collaborated with them, performing on their recording of "Where Do We Go From Here?" He also appeared in a cameo in their film, Where is the Chesterfield King? (2000).

Lindsay's next official solo release was Video Dreams in 1996. This effort was warmly received and he began an even more aggressive touring schedule. He followed this release with a holiday record (Twas the Night Before Christmas (2000) and Live at Rick's Cafe (1999) (not a live album, but a collection of pre-rock standards).

Now where is Mark Lindsay? You can hear him every week as a DJ on radio in Portland Oregon.

In 2003 he had announced he would retire from touring, but he later reconsidered. A recording of his first "farewell" show was released in 2004 (The Last Midnight Ride). He currently does some touring, but as of January 7, 2006, he was heard on a webcast every Saturday night on the website of KISN radio from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. PST, titled "Mark After Dark."

On November 11, 2006, "Mark After Dark" switched to FM webcast "K-Hits 106-7" KLTH Saturday nights 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. PST.

On March 10, 2007, the program "Mark After Dark" changed its name to "Mark Lindsay's Rock & Roll Cafe" to refer to Lindsay's new restaurant, which opened to the public in Portland, Oregon, on August 27, 2007. The restaurant includes a remote studio where Lindsay does his radio show in front of restaurant guests and can be seen from the street and sidewalk. The studio is also used at times by other K-Hits air personalities.

On September 21, 2007, a federal lawsuit was filed against the new restaurant for the restaurant's allegedly unauthorized use of various trademarks owned by the Yaw family, who had operated a series of restaurants in the Portland area for many years.

On May 12, 2008, "Mark Lindsay's Rock & Roll Cafe" announced its closure.

Now you know where you can hear Mark Lindsay, the co-founder and lead singer of Paul Revere and The Raiders. Noted for such hits as Kicks; Hungry; Him or Me, What's It Gonna Be; Just Like Me; Good Thing; Steppin' Out; I'm Not Your Stepping Stone; and countless more.

Check out the awesome 60s Official Site for more 60s facts and music of the 60s.

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