Paper Lace made history in 1974 when their single The Night Chicago Died went to the very top of the American Hit Parade – and later sold over a million copies – to become one of an elite band of British groups to achieve this distinction. On the home-front, however, the single fared less well, reaching #3 in the UK charts.
The group was formed in 1969 around Nottingham and secured a residency at Tiffany’s Club in the Lancashire town of Rochdale.
They later undertook club and concert engagements up and down the length of Britain and in 1974 made their television debut on Hughie Green’s talent show Opportunity Knocks, winning one of the shows in the process.
Earlier in the year, the group had been signed by songwriter Mitch Murray to his own record company – Bus Stop – and with Peter Callander, he wrote their debut single Billy Don’t Be A Hero.
They featured the song on their very first television appearance and it proved an instant success. Within weeks it was at the top of the British, Irish and Australian charts.
Their follow-up release The Night Chicago Died consolidated their potential – and they scored for a third time with The Black Eyed Boys.
At the height of their success, Paper Lace toured Britain and America, and appeared at major venues, including the London Palladium in June 1974.
A year later, they were chosen to appear in the Royal Variety Performance.
Carlo Santanna left the group to go solo – though have you ever heard of him? Paper Lace, on the other hand, continued to entertain as a quartet – appearing in clubs and venues in Holland, Germany, France and Scandinavia, where they retained a large fan following. At one time, their lineup included former New Seeker Peter Oliver and ex-Merlin member Jamie Moses.
In 1978, after being out of the commercial eye for two years, they teamed up with Nottingham Forest Football Club to record the single We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands, which reached #24 in the British charts.