Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paul Revere & The Raiders Guitarist Drake Levin Dies At 62

The L.A. Times is reporting that Drake Levin, lead guitarist for Paul Revere & the Raiders during the quintet's hit-making prime in the mid-1960s, died Saturday at his home in San Francisco after a long battle with cancer, according to his longtime friend and former Raiders bandmate Phil Volk. He was 62.

Levin's four-year stint with the Raiders, known for its campy Revolutionary War uniforms, thigh-high black riding boots and tri-corner hats, coincided with a string of top 10 hits including "Kicks," "Hungry" and "Good Thing."

For a time he was one of the most recognizable American rock guitarists through the group's weekly appearances on the Dick Clark-produced music series "Where the Action Is."

The band's 1965 hit "Just Like Me," prominently featuring Levin's double-tracked lead guitar, is on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll." The song hit #11 on the Top 40 singles charts that year.

Levin's prominence as a guitarist helped him land subsequent work playing with organist Lee Michaels, singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes and others. After settling in the Bay Area, he became one of the region's top blues players and formed groups of his own, including Billy Dunn and Bluesway. He last played with his Raiders cohorts at a 1997 reunion in Portland that featured all the mid-'60s band members except Revere, who has continued touring with his own lineup.

Levin is survived by his wife of 37 years, Sandra; sons David and Darby; his mother, Charle; his brother Jeff and his sister Lori.

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