Billy Don’t Be A Hero – Paper Lace
Formed in 1969 in Nottingham, England, and made up of Michael Vaughn, Chris Morris, Carlo Santana, Cliff Fish, and Phillip Wright, Paper Lace was one of hundreds of pop bands in England looking for the big time while slogging their way through small club gigs and brief television appearances.
Their big break came in 1974 when their version of the tear-jerking bubblegum tune “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero” won top honours on Opportunity Knocks, a nationwide talent-show on ITV. They rode that song all the way to the top of the U.K. charts but were aced out of any sales in the U.S. by Bo Donaldson & the Haywood’s’ transcendent version.
Their next single, “The Night Chicago Died,” did manage to hit the number one slot on the U.S. charts (number three in the U.K.) and then that was it. The group released two albums, Paper Lace and Other Bits of Material in 1974 and First Edition in 1975, and did a quick fade from the public eye. In 1978 they surfaced briefly with a sing-along version of “We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands” with their local football team, Nottingham Forest FC, and the disappeared forever.
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