Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Paul Revere & the Raiders

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A year or so ago I began attempting to rip some of my father’s music for him so that he could relive some old memories while spending his days and nights on his Mac. My conquest was short lived as I only made it a few 45s into the project before realizing the unfortunate reality that my father and I have don’t have much in common in terms of our musical tastes. Though there was really nothing wrong with his collection, taking time to listen to it and edit mp3s meant that I had less time to discover modern music, much of which I would wager to say I might enjoy a little more than one of Stevie Wonder’s top five musical crimes perpetuated in the 80’s and 90’s.

There were a few 45s that stood out however, one of them being Paul Revere & The Raiders’ Him or Me – What’s it Gonna Be?/Legend of Paul Revere (1967). The group, which I’m still only vaguely familiar with, put out a textbook definition of what a single should be. Him or Me – What’s it Gonna Be?, the A-side, is a gritty early-era garage rock track which provided evidence of the band’s confidence, confidence which was further showcased in the group’s first greatest hits album, released in the same year. The B-side showcases the band’s story, literally. The lighthearted song follows the band’s beginnings in Idaho to its appearance on The Dick Clark Show. Wouldn’t it be a lot more interesting if more modern acts released musical biographies? Well, maybe not.

Before esteemed BBC radio DJ John Peel passed in 2004 he was known to have had an estimated collection comprised of some 26,000 vinyl LPs, 40,000 singles and 40,000 CDs. Of these albums Peel was known to have had a wooden box containing 142 singles which he was to have valued more than all others (via). Among these singles was one Him or Me – What’s it Gonna Be?/Legend of Paul Revere by Paul Revere & The Raiders.

What’s most shocking about the 45 isn’t that I enjoyed it, or that it’s acclaimed as one of Peel’s few key treasures, but rather that it might mean that my father actually (even if only for a lone 45) at some point in his life had decent taste in music.

(This article first appeared on Circa 45.)