Mark Lindsay (born March 9, 1942) is an American musician, best known as the lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders.
Lindsay began performing at age 15 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. Hall. He persuaded the band to allow him to sing a few songs with them. The next day he was working at his regular job at McClure Bakery in Caldwell, Idaho, 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. The group scored their first national hit with the piano/sax instrumental "Like, Long Hair" which peaked at #38 in the Billboard charts on April 17, 1961.
After changing personnel a few more times, the band recorded the song "Louie, Louie" about the same time that a rival Pacific Northwest band, The Kingsmen, recorded the song. The Kingsmen version was the one that charted nationally, but Mark and his bandmates also were gaining attention.
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 became his signature look.
Lindsay and the group caught the attention of Dick Clark, who was developing Where the Action Is, an afternoon show for the teen market. Clark hired the group as regular performers, and the group soon became very successful. 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 and shared a house for a while. The house later became infamous as the 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 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 Revere and Lindsay, and was to 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 also were exploring other opportunities. Lindsay began to record solo records and to produce records for his bandmate, Freddy Weller, who went on to have his own solo success in the country music genre.
Lindsay had some success with such songs as "Arizona" (1969, Billboard #10), which sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc; and "Silver Bird" (Billboard #25) in 1970. Lindsay recorded "Indian Reservation", a song written by John Loudermilk and made into a Hot 100 top 20 hit by Don Fardon years earlier, to be a solo recording, but the decision was made to release the song under the name "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)" and it went on to be the only number one song in the group's history. Lindsay 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). 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 (1971) and "Jody", the theme from Santee (1973 - credited to The Raiders).