The former lead singer and co-founder of Paul Revere & the Raiders, Mark Lindsay was born in Oregon but raised in Idaho, where he began his career as the rockabilly singer in Freddy Chapman’s Idaho Playboys. His bandmates were the guitar playing brothers Dick and “Mooney” White.
The White Brothers had another gig playing rock and roll in the Red Hughes Band. Red later hired Paul Revere Dick on piano to join them. One night at the IOOF Hall in Caldwell, Idaho, Mark Lindsay showed up to listen, but he soon ripped off his glasses and made his way blindly to the stage, then impulsively asked if he could sing a song. He did, relished the crowd response for a few moments, and then – overcome with shyness – hastily left the hall.
The next morning, Mark was back at his job at McClure’s Bakery. Covered in flour and with his coke-bottle glasses back on, he was soon visited by Revere, who had come in to pick up buns for his hamburger stand. While Mark wrapped the order, Revere started talking about an incident that had happened at the dance that he played the night before. “It was the weirdest thing!” said Revere. “In the middle of the show, this skinny kid with a crazy look in his eye came up to the stage and asked to sing a song. So we let him.” Mark, knowing full well who the stranger was, casually asked,“How was he?” “Not bad,” Revere admitted. “It was ME!” replied Mark. Thus began the Lindsay-Revere association.
Mark began sitting in regularly with the Red Hughes band and began to attract his own following, which Red did not appreciate. It all came to a head the night Red took his date to the prom, and showed up late to the gig. Mark was on stage rocking out with the band when Red came in the door, and he was furious. That night he delivered an ultimatum to the band. “If you ever let Lindsay on the stage again, I’ll fire the whole band!”
With that ultimatum, the band quit, and approached Mark about starting a new band with him as lead singer. They were nameless for a few months, but then called themselves The Downbeats, after Mark noticed a Downbeat magazine on his sax teacher’s coffee table and suggested it.
The group recorded some demos and got their first contract with Gardena Records in 1961. Owner John Guss, after reviewing the document, noticed the full name of Paul Revere Dick and suggested it would make a good gimmick. And thus the band was christened Paul Revere and the Raiders.
Their recording of “Louie Louie” led to a contract with Columbia Records in 1963 and seventeen Top 20 hits later, with Mark Lindsay on all the Raider hits’ lead vocals (plus his solo hit “Arizona”), it’s still hard for him to believe that a shy, skinny, geeky farm kid could have been so lucky. “Indian Reservation,” “Kicks,” “Hungry,” and “Good Thing” and many others have become radio classics.
Mark and the Raiders are the most televised band in history, with over 700 original network appearances on shows including “Where the Action Is” (daily, 1965-67), followed by the Lindsay-hosted “Happening” (daily, then Saturdays, 1968-69), and including the top shows of the era, such as Ed Sullivan, the Smothers Brothers, and the Tonight Show.
Mark continued his TV presence over the years, with appearances on Oprah Winfrey, “Married With Children” and other shows, and of course, continues to create new music.
His recording of “Treat Her Right” with Los Straitjackets was cited by author Stephen King in his column for Entertainment Weekly. “This remake of Roy Head’s 1965 soul hit smokes. And Mark Lindsay sounds so good you just gotta wonder where he was all those years.”
Mark’s 2013 CD, Life Out Loud, produced two singles that both garnered accolades from Little Steven and were picked for Coolest Song in the World on his Underground Garage radio show.
Teaming up with Susan Cowsill, Mark released his first-ever duet project in 2016, titled “Love Is Strange” and featuring the classic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”
Along the way, he also spent two years hosting, first, a radio show on legendary KISN-AM in Portland, Oregon, followed by a move to K-HITS
106.7 (KLTH-FM, part of CBS), where he took his Saturday night show to the top of the ratings for that time slot.
In 2019, acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino released “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and used four Raider songs in the movie, plus a video clip of Mark hosting and He and the Raiders performing on a 1969 TV segment.
Three of those songs — Mark wrote 2 and co-wrote one — made it to the soundtrack, and Tarantino thanked Mark Lindsay in the liner notes – the only musician thus honored.
Mark still tours extensively as a solo artist, appearing on four recent Happy Together summer-long tours, as well as at shows with his own band. He was very excited to team up with old friend Micky Dolenz in 2017/2018 to do the “50 Summers of Love” tour and to give fans a unique opportunity to see and hear the two former teen idols perform together in ways they haven’t heard before. Mark has just announced that he will be part of the Happy Together 2020 Tour.
Mark resides in Maine and Florida with his wife of thirty years.