Don Fardon’s version peaked at no 4 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 20 November 1968.
The Raiders’ version peaked at no 33 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 16 October 1971.
The song was written by John D. Loudermilk and was first recorded by Marvin Rainwater in 1959 and released as “The Pale Faced Indian”, but that release stayed unnoticed.
The lyrics vary somewhat among the recorded versions. Rainwater’s version lacks the “Cherokee people!” chorus, but includes instead a series of “Hiya hiya ho!” chants. Fardon’s version is similar to the Raiders’ through the first verse and chorus, but differs after that.
The song is about the plight of the Cherokee Indians who, in 1791, were displaced from their home in Georgia to a reservation in Oklahoma. Raiders frontman Mark Lindsay, whose ancestry was part Indian, thought that this would be a good song to record.
A country singer named Marvin Rainwater recorded an early version of this song called “The Pale Faced Indian” in 1959. Rainwater, who was part Cherokee, incorporated chanting into it.
The first hit version of this song was recorded in 1968 by a British singer named Don Fardon. Raiders used more keyboards and modern production elements in their 1971 rendition.
The Raiders’ version is also on our Spotify playlist.
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