Keith Allison of Paul Revere and the Raiders Dies
Former Paul Revere and the Raiders singer/guitarist Keith Allison has died. He also worked with Ringo Starr, the Monkees and the Beach Boys over the years.
“It is with deep sadness [we] announce the passing of Keith Allison,” Paul Revere and the Raiders said in an official statement. “We all here in the Raider family are terribly heartbroken. Keith will always be a Raider. Our love goes out to Keith’s wife Tina, son Ryeland, daughters Allison and Brenda, and all the grandchildren. Keith was a friend to all, and everyone loved Keith. His presence will be strongly missed.”
Allison had been associated with the group for several years before somewhat reluctantly joining in 1968. He came to their attention after being hired as a permanent audience member for Dick Clark’s TV show Where the Action Is, as a result of bearing a resemblance to Paul McCartney.
“I'd just signed a recording deal with Warner Bros., and I just signed a solo contract with Dick Clark Productions,” Allison later told Classic Bands. “I felt it would be like kicking Dick Clark in the shins. … I thought that would have been bad karma.”
Allison light-heartedly described his decision to finally become a member of the Raiders as “a step sideways. I was doing the same thing I always did. I traveled with them everywhere. I toured with them all the time. We were on the TV show together," he said. “I was so closely associated with them that it wasn't that big of a jump one way or the other, because of the TV show. … I had played on a lot of their records, played guitar on 'em, on several of their hits. So it was a natural transition, actually.”
Watch Keith Allison Perform ‘Louise’
Allison remained with the band until 1975, by which time they were using the shortened title of the Raiders. He also worked with the Crickets, Roy Orbison, and Sonny & Cher, among others.
He released the solo album Keith Allison in Action, and served as Starr’s musical director. He pursued a career in acting, then returned to music, joining the Waddy Watchel Band and appearing on Jerry Lee Lewis’ 2007 LP Last Man Standing.
“I've had a great time,” Allison said, reflecting on his career. “I've enjoyed the highs and lows. It's like a roller coaster. But it's always been that way, up and down and up and down and up and down.”