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Kicks by Paul Revere & the Raiders

Album: Midnight RideReleased: 1966Charted:
4
  • This is believed to be the first anti-drug song. After the Animals had a hit with "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," Terry Melcher, who produced the album, asked the song's writers Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for something similar for Paul Revere & the Raiders. They sent him this song which they had originally written hoping it would help get a friend off drugs. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA)
  • Terry Melcher started working with the group after doing production work on The Byrds' first 2 albums. In 1968, he rented his house to director Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate. Melcher knew Charles Manson and worked with him on some projects before abandoning them. In 1969, Manson and his "family" killed Tate and 4 of her friends in Melcher's house. Melcher became much more secluded after the murders, but did help write The Beach Boys 1987 hit "Kokomo." He died of cancer in 2004.
  • The band are famous for performing while dressed in American Revolutionary War soldier uniforms.
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Comments: 25

On May 4th 1961, Paul Revere & the Raiders performed "Like, Long Hair" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
This was five years before "Kicks", which was their first Top 10 record...
"Like, Long Hair", an instrumental, debuted on the Top 100 on March 21st, 1961 at position #94; and on April 17th, 1961 it peaked at #38 (for 1 week) and spent 6 weeks on the Top 100...
("Like, Long Hair" is a classical rocker and available on You Tube).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Back in the mid 60's my Cuz and I would watch them on Dick Clark's Where the Action Is. They were on it all the time and we thought they were great.
To answer the question about who Kicks was written for, according to Wikipedia "Kicks" became their best-known song, an anti-drug message written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil that was originally earmarked for The Animals. (Mann later revealed in interviews that the song was written about their friend, fellow 1960s songwriter Gerry Goffin, whose on-going drug problems were interfering with his career with then-wife Carole King.
Don - Willoughby, Oh
On February 21st 1966, Paul Revere & the Raiders performed "Kicks" on the NBC-TV program 'Hullabaloo!'...
One month later on March 19th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #62; and on May 8th it peaked at #4 (for 1 week) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 6 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
And on May 2nd, 1966 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart...
It was the group's first Top 10 record; and between 1961 and 1973 they had twenty-four Top 100 hits, with five making the Top 10 and one reaching #1 ("Indian Reservation" for one week in 1971).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
This song was covered by the Monkees in 1986 as one of three new songs for the compilation set "Then and Now...the Best of the Monkees." At the time, the only members of the group to perform on the song were Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork, and Tork was later quoted as having been miffed at being asked by the higher-ups to do a cover of another band's group. He compared it to a Beatles reunion where the Fab Four would be asked to play "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."David - Las Vegas, Nv
There is definitely a music similarity between "Satisfaction" and "Kicks", but a little trivia, Paul Revere and the Raiders also covered a version of "Satisfaction." I cannot see, however, "Kicks" being a reply/sequel to "Satisfaction." Can you explain why, or someone else?Brandon - Seattle, Wa
While dabbling with drugs myself in the late sixties/early seventies, I could find ways to justify my behavior. But I remember that every time I heard "Kicks", a little voice in my head would always say, "You know this isn't the way to go." I honestly believed it may have help to keep my from getting in too deep!Mark - Lunenburg, Ma
This song could be a used to address any and every addiction of every type. Far too many are gaining fleshly wishes (some gaining much of this world) and on the way to losing their souls. When "Kicks just keep gettin' harder to find," trying to maintain half the same high as last time, they "ain't bringin' (you) piece of mind." They instead leave the subject feeling emptier than last time, and counting. This world needs a wake-up call: "Before you find out it's too late, you'd better get straight!" The Day of Reckoning is the ultimate "too late"! "Or what can you give in exchange for your soul?" (Matt. 16:26) Funny there are mentions of Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." To "I can't get no satisfaction," the Raiders' "Kicks" is the perfect reply (or sequel, in the case of Solomon). Like Solomon, the friend seeking the "kicks" has tried any and all fleshly venues and likewise "can't get no satisfaction." "Kicks" and the Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn", in tandem, cover much of the message of Ecclesiastes.Andy - Birmingham, Al
my favorite band is the beatles, but my favorite song is kicks. weirdJulia - Milton, Pa
This song was written about Gerry Goffin, who was Carole King's husband at the time.Bill - West Chester, Pa
When I was a kid I thought this was about sex.Bebe - La, Ca
Any one have information about Billy Graham that played with PR&TR at beach parties along the Oregan coast in the early years?Nancy - Bellefontaine, Oh
Kicks is a great song... ranked #400 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It took great courage in 1966 to come out with an anti-drug message when most of the great musicians were ruining their lives and their music because of drug use. As the song says, "No, you don't need kicks
To help you face the world each day
That road goes nowhere
I'm gonna help you find yourself another way."
Mark - Colorado Sprinjgs, Co
The beginning of the Raiders trying to sound like the Stones. The song's intro guitar and bass parts mirror "Satisfaction", and Lindsay does his best Jagger impression (which he continued for their next several singles).John - Cincinnati, Oh
This was the first song that I learned to play on guitar when I was 9 years old. And the only one I knew for about 6 months. It drove my parents nuts! But I still love it.Jon - Watauga, Tx
I really loved PR&TR in my teens back in the 60's. I was actually disappointed when I found out they were anti-drug use.

But I still love their music today.
Lester - New York City, Ny
Every time I hear this song I think, Wow, what great lyrics. I just love this song. The lyrics are way ahead of it's time.

"Don't you see no matter what you do
You'll never run away from you
And if you keep on runnin'
You'll have to pay the price"

What great lyrics.
Kim - San Jose, Ca
Mark Lindsey now has a house in Marana Arizona, on a golf course. I have served him and his g-friend/wife dinner many many many times.
Strangest thing about him- he never takes his sunglasses off, even indoors.
Angel - Somewhere In, Az
I liked it alot at the time but the Paul Revere and the Raiders like the Turtles and The Buckinghams were IMO
second rate compared to the sounds coming out in 1966 and the "British invasion". Still all in all a pretty good tune.
Greg - Victoria, Canada
One of the best recordings of the 60's. No collection of the great songs of the 60's would be complete without this song. Mark Lindsey did a great job singing this song.Steve - Fenton, Mo
An outstanding opening guitar intro.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
I heard that Mann and Weil wrote this about a close male friend of theirs who was getting out of control with drugs at the time. They took the artistic license of making the subject a girl, for the song. Don't know who the friend actually was.Frank - Westminster, Sc
I'd never heard it was written about anyone in particular. But the song was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.Janice - Las Vegas, Nv
In the SCTV skit/movie-of-the-week "South Sea Sinner" , a washed-up Paul Revere (played by Joe Flaherty) is playing this song in the background all the time.Liquid Len - Ottawa, Canada
Actually, I think this song was written about the Mark Lindsey's girlfriend or ex-girlfriend, as the case may be, actress Linda Gray. Apparently they were having problems and he wrote the song about it.Larry - Aurora, Ky
Bass player nicknamed "Fang" had his pseudonym written on the back of his guitar which he would flip over during a song, grin wildly, showing off his pearly-whites and mug for the audience and/or cameras.Gene - Hammond, In