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Oregon Rocks!

07:31 AM Saturday 9/3/11 | |

From the late great Johnny Ray to The Kingsmen and Paul Revere & The Raiders to The Dandy Warhols and The Decemberists, the Union’s 33rd state is proud of its musical heritage and wants to tell the world about it.

The Oregon Historical Society has a new exhibit with a musical bent. Running through Jan. 15, 2012, “Oregon Rocks! A History of Popular Music In Oregon” is a lesson in the Beaver State’s musical legacy.

One of the artists featured in the exhibit is Johnny Ray who attracted an international fan base with hits such as the double-sided best-seller “Cry” and “The Little Cloud That Cried” as well as “Please Mr. Sun,” “A Sinner Am I” and “Just Walkin’ In The Rain.” In later years, other artists would name-check Ray in their lyrics. Dexy’s Midnight Runners mentioned Ray in their hit “Come On Eileen,” and Billy Joel gave him a shout-out in “We Didn’t Start The Fire.”

The Kingsmen also hailed from Oregon, as did ‘60s power-pop masters Paul Revere & The Raiders. Coincidentally, both bands had hits with the same song – the Richard Berry-penned “Louie Louie.” Items at the “Oregon Rocks” exhibits include Revere’s VOX organ along with The Raiders’ signature revolutionary war outfits and The Kingsmen’s drum kit.

Other acts that have called Oregon home at one time or another include Curtis Salgado, M. Ward, Courtney Love, The Thermals and Quarterflash.

To celebrate the opening of the new exhibit, the Oregon Historical Society in conjunction with the Dill Pickle Club held a concert last week featuring The Kingsmen along with Paul Revere & The Raiders bassist Phil “Fang” Volk, Ural Thomas, and Pierced Arrows among the participants. The drummer in the video embedded below is Alex Hart, son of former Paul Revere & The Raiders manager Roger Hart.

For more information on The Oregon Historical Society’s “Oregon Rocks!” exhibit, please visit OHS.org.