Paul Revere, the organist and leader of long-running classic rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders, died on Saturday in his Idaho home, the band’s official website confirmed in a letter. He was 76.
TMZ reports that he has been battling cancer since last year, though no official cause of death has been announced.
The Raiders got their start in 1963, when they released their cover of Richard Berry’s “Louie, Louie.” They would go on to release four Top Ten singles in the ’60s: “Hungry,” Good Thing” “Him or Me, What’s It Gonna Be” and, one of their biggest hits, anti-drug song “Kicks.”
In 1971, the Raiders released “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian).” The song became their biggest hit, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard chart in July 1971 and selling more than one million copies.
Despite several lineup changes in the band, including the exit of lead singer Mark Lindsay, Revere stayed with the Raiders for more than five decades.
The letter on the Raiders website, written from a fan’s perspective, remembers Revere for his memorable stage persona (the band wore outfits that were reminiscent of the Revolutionary way) and his high energy style.
“Like most people, my initial introduction to you was on television, radio and records, but none of those mediums gave me a real clue to the one-of-a-kind life force that was Paul Revere,” reads the letter.
“Sitting in an audience at my first Paul Revere and The Raiders concert introduced me to a larger-than-life dynamo of high-energy slapstick, outrageous and spontaneous humor and a genuine child-like joy.”
In July, Revere did give a glimpse to fans about his health concerns in a Facebook post.
“Even though I’ve had some health issues, nothing can stop the old man,” he wrote. “I’m like the Energizer Bunny! I jump on my tour bus and go from city to city, packing a trunk full of great Raider songs, tight pants and bad jokes – all against doctor’s orders, by the way!”
“I’ve been the worst patient these guys have ever seen, and they’ve been on me to take a break all year. So, we finally did take a break, and recorded two new singles (due out in September), but that’s not good enough for them. They want a longer break. I told them, “Hey, I’ve got to hit the road, I’m booked! And I’m bored!!”
Revere had booked dates through next year with the Raiders.