08 December 2014

Paper Lace

Paper Lace were a British five-part band, generally hailing from Nottingham, who formed in 1969 but didn't produce anything which troubled the top ten until 1974, following which they quietly sank into obscurity.

A little more detail? Well, originally Paper Lace formed in 1969 when Philip Wright and Cliff Fish, Chris Morris, Carlo Santanna (not Santana!) and Michael Vaughan got together in Nottingham to produce catchy pop tunes. The line-up changed quite a lot to start with, and commercial success didn't come quickly to Paper Lace; it was five years later that they finally achieved some recognition after appearing on the ITV show Opportunity Knocks, by which time the line-up had settled down somewhat. Mitch Murray and Peter Callender signed the band up, promising a killer song, and thus Paper Lace's fruitful period began. The song in question, Billy Don't Be A Hero, a gentle anti-war ballad, rocketed to number one in the UK Singles Chart, stayed there for three weeks, and truly deserved the hype.

A one hit wonder, then. Well, nearly. The Night Chicago Died followed Billy and slotted in at number three - not too bad, since it also charted well in the US. A third attempt, The Black-Eyed Boys managed a number eleven, just outside the top ten. And that was pretty much it; Paper Lace's five minutes of fame had all but ended, at least as far as top-ten hits were concerned: the Queen Mother was treated to a little Paper Lace at the Royal Variety Performance, and their UK smash hit soared into the U.S. Billboard Charts at a depressing number ninety-six. Particularly depressing, it must be said, since Bo Donaldson And The Heywoods beat them to the post with a US cover that hit number one.

By 1978 Paper Lace had been and gone, leaving Billy to look after things legacy-wise. Philip Wright and Cliff Fish carried on for a while with other musicians filling the gaps. 1997 saw Phil leave to form Sons And Lovers, who describe themselves as a 'sixties and seventies pop harmony function band'. Also, if you're lucky you might come across a brief performance of Philip Wright's Paper Lace, featuring one fifth of Paper Lace with the rest made up of session musicians.

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