Paul Revere & the Raiders
Matching suits were de rigueur in the early ’60s. So when you’re a bandleader with a name like Paul Revere, and you’re looking to develop an image, the solution is pretty obvious: colonial army uniforms and three-corner hats. So eye-catching was the Raiders’ sartorial trademark that it spawned regional imitators (the Redcoats, the Coachmen and George Washington & the Cherry Bombs, to name three). Eventually, their costume gimmickry and reputation for rowdy live shows pricked up the ears of a young Dick Clark, who in 1965 made the band regulars on his weekday teen-beat TV show, Where the Action Is. As a result, the Raiders racked up 24 charting singles, and singer Mark Lindsay enjoyed a stint as a pinup boy for 16 and Tiger Beat magazines.
The Limelight: The Raiders’ version of John D. Loudermilk’s protest tune “Indian Reservation” hits No. 1 in 1971.
The Lowlight: The band mimes and lip-syncs the novelty hit “Alley Oop”—while dressed as cavemen—on national television in 1966.
For anyone who was not fortunate enough to catch Hazel at La Luna or the X-Ray Café during its ’90s heyday, a “typical” show went something like this: Chatty drummer Jody Bleyle might dash across the stage chasing the drumsticks that had flown out of her hands. Bassist Brady Smith inevitably would deliver a monologue about the Baltimore Orioles, while guitarist Pete Krebs tried to maintain order and get the next song started. But most of the attention was captured by “ballerino” Fred Nemo, a bearded dervish who stood on chairs, balanced water pitchers on his head or convulsed wildly—often decked out in a flowery frock. The buzz over Hazel’s off-kilter concerts made it a must-see band, and subsequently a must-hear band: In 1993 the indie rockers became one of four local groups (Pond, the Spinanes and Sprinkler being the others) signed by Seattle’s prestigious Sub Pop Records, for whom they recorded two albums of vigorous pop-punk.
The Limelight: In 1995, Hazel’s video for “Comet” plays on MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head .
The Lowlight: On a tour of the South in 1993, Hazel gets its entire bankroll pilfered from the van during a gig in Athens, Ga. The same night, a club owner pays the band with several cases of “green” Budweiser, causing Bleyle to be violently ill at every rest stop between Athens and Mobile.
1959-present Garage Rock
Though it’s been covered by everyone from the Kinks to Iggy Pop (there are more than 1,000 recorded versions), no one had a bigger hit with “Louie Louie” than the Kingsmen, a group of Portland teenagers who in 1963 recorded the song—for a whopping $36—at Northwest Recorders (on SW 13th Ave), the same studio where local rivals Paul Revere & the Raiders would cut the song a few days later. The Raiders ended up with a more lucrative career, but the Kingsmen hit the jackpot on this particular tune: Their take on the oft-performed Richard Berry classic was No. 2 in the nation for six weeks. “‘Louie Louie’ is the whole history of rock ’n’ roll in three minutes and 40 years,” summarizes Rolling Stone writer Dave Marsh. With a few original members (now in their 60s), the band endures to this day, still cranking out the most ubiquitous frat-rock anthem of all time.
The Limelight: In 1985, the State of Washington attempts to make the Kingsmen’s version of “Louie Louie” the state’s official song, but the campaign falls short.
The Lowlight: Lawsuits in the mid-’60s over rights to the band name between two rival factions of the Kingsmen (featuring feuding ex-members) cause confusion among fans and permanent rifts in the group.