Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paper Lace--The Night Chicago Died (1974)

     Paper Lace began in 1967 in Nottingham, England as the group Music Box, then in 1969 changed it when Phil Wright joined as drummer and lead singer. They spent the next 5 years paying their dues on the pub circuit with the occasional television appearance. In 1974 the group had an chance to be on the show "Opportunity Knocks" and did so well that songwriters Mitch Murry and Peter Callender approached them with the song, "Billy Don't Be A Hero". The song went to number 1 on the British charts in the spring of 1974, but failed here as Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods beat them to the punch and released their version stateside first.. Another Murry/Callender song, "The Night Chicago Died" however, didn't have that issue and reached #1 here with 3 million copies sold.

      As with much of the best of bubblegum pop, it was very well crafted, and an album with "Billy" and "Chicago" proved that the band could extend the sound for a whole album. (It was released as "Paper Lace" in the states, "Paper Lace and Other Bits of Material" in the UK).  If you get a chance to hear it, you might be surprised at the quality of the music. However, the band never had another hit in the US or in Britain and by the end of the decade had gone their separate ways.


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