Photos from the October 22-23, 2011 Austin Record Show
Mike Ragain 1947-1965
Mike was the talented and extremely charismatic singer for The Knights, a tight and hard rockin' four piece garage band formed in late 1964 that was based out of Olney, Illinois and Vincennes, Indiana. Even though all the members of the band were talented musicians, there was no doubt that the band's ever-increasing popularity was centered around the magnetic persona and stage presence of the animated singer. Mike's unmistakable star quality was something that was very obvious and music fans from all over the region began to take notice.
In November, 1965, just as things were really revving up for the band and their popularity was really gaining momentum, Mike was tragically killed in a car accident. Fans of the band and members of the community were stunned - he had also been a star athlete in high school, an outstanding artist and was well known to almost everyone in the area, often seen roaring down the city streets on his motorcycle. Mike's funeral, held at the Lutheran Church on the east side of Olney, Illinois, and the ensuing procession to the cemetery, which was several miles in length, are both still among the largest ever seen in the community.
Mike was a very influential and admired individual; many bands were
started in the area after his death, most of them owing their roots to
his early musical influences. Many people who saw him perform still talk
about him although it's now almost 50 years since his untimely death;
almost all agree that he has that "something special" and was certainly
headed for stardom. Personally, he certainly had a very obvious presence
about him that I've only seen in a few individuals in all these years.
Sadly, there is no known recorded evidence of Mike and his band's
performances to let the world hear how good they were and how great they
were going to be.
R.I.P. Michael Roy Ragain.