Paper Lace

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Paper Lace
Paper Lace in 1974
Paper Lace in 1974
Background information
OriginNottingham, England
GenresPop rock, power pop, glam rock
Years active1967–present
  • Phil Wright
  • Dave Major
  • Phil Hendricks
  • Dale Corcoran
Past members
  • Roy White
  • Dave Manders
  • Michael Vaughn
  • Peter Oliver
  • Jamie Moses
  • Cliff Fish
Chris Morris

Paper Lace are a British pop/rock band, formed in Nottingham, who rose to success in 1974 and during that year had three UK Top 40 hit singles. In the United States they are considered a one-hit wonder, having had a single US Number One hit. [1]


The core of the band had formed in 1967 as Music Box, members being Cliff Fish, Dave Manders, Roy White and Phil Wright, the band performing covers by the likes of the Beach Boys.[2] In 1969 they changed their name to Paper Lace. They worked their way through small club gigs; a season at Tiffany's, a Rochdale club; and in 1971 at The Birdcage in Ashton-Under-Lyne. In 1972 Paper Lace released First Edition, the first of two studio albums, but despite some TV appearances, the band achieved no mainstream success until 1973 victories on Opportunity Knocks, a talent contest series, broadcasting at that time on ITV.

The band had auditioned for the programme in 1970, but they were not called to appear until 1973. According to Phil Wright (then lead singer, now lead singer of Phil Wright's Original 70s Paper Lace) the band initially questioned whether they should go on the show. However, with Opportunity Knocks's weekly viewing figures of 7 million, they concluded that going on the programme was a 'no brainer'. Paper Lace won for five consecutive weeks.[3]

On the basis of Opportunity Knocks performances, songwriters Mitch Murray and Peter Callander offered the band 'Billy Don't Be a Hero', with the possibility of more songs if it took off. The song spent 14 weeks on the UK Singles Chart, three weeks of them at Number 1. It was followed by another Murray/Callander composition, the story song 'The Night Chicago Died', which reached Number 3 in the UK in its 11 weeks on the charts. In late 1974, Murray and Callander’s third song for the band, 'The Black-Eyed Boys', took Paper Lace to Number 37 in Canada and Number 11 during its 10-week UK run.[4][5]

Paper Lace, 1974

In the United States, with the subject matter of 'Billy Don’t Be a Hero' assumed to be about the Vietnam war, it seemed logical that the song should become a hit there. But Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods were the first to release the song in the US, and Paper Lace’s version did not catch on, peaking at Number 96. However, their follow-up, 'The Night Chicago Died', although a historically inaccurate tale of a violent battle between the forces of gangster Al Capone and Chicago police during the Prohibition era, had no such competition. Despite contractual hassles preventing the band from performing the song in America, it topped the Billboard Hot 100. Having sold over three million copies, it was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1974.[6]

Also in 1974 the band released its second of two studio albums, Paper Lace and Other Bits of Material (1974). The band line-up covering the three UK hit singles consisted of Philip Wright on drums/lead vocals, Mick Vaughan on lead and rhythm guitar, Cliff Fish on bass guitar, and Chris Morris on guitar and vocals.[7] Later that year Carlo Paul Santanna joined Paper Lace as a fifth band member.[8]

Paper Lace were reportedly the most successful band Nottingham ever produced. Among other accolades, they were invited to perform on the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen Mother.[4] However, as musical tastes and styles evolved in the mid-70s, the band's popularity waned, and by early 1976 Vaughan, Morris, and Santanna had left the band, replaced alongside Wright and Fish first by Jamie Moses and, from 1975 to 1978, Peter Oliver (previously with The New Seekers).[7][8]

In 1978, the band surfaced briefly with a sing-along version of 'We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands' with their local football team, Nottingham Forest F.C. (Sendra, 2006). The 7-inch single, with 'The Nottingham Forest March' as the B-side, spent six weeks on the UK chart and reached Number 24, but went Top 10 in the Netherlands.[9]

Paper Lace finally came to an end in 1984, but Phil Wright and Cliff Fish reformed the band in 2009

In 1990, three original Paper Lace members, Philip Wright, Mick Vaughan, and Chris Morris, received financial backing to re-record 'Billy Don't Be a Hero' with an up-to-date sound. However, it was never released because, when the Gulf War began, the BBC banned songs it deemed inappropriate to broadcast during wartime, and 'Billy Don't Be A Hero' was among them.[10]

In 1997, Wright joined Sons and Lovers but left in 2008. Phil Wright, the voice on all the 1974 Paper lace recordings, continues to perform with the reformed Paper Lace which is now known as The Original 70s Paper Lace. This new identification comes about because the name is owned by someone no longer involved. The band members are Phil Wright (drums, lead vocal), Dale Corcoran (bass and vocals), Dave Major (keyboards and vocals), & Phil Hendriks (lead guitar and vocals).They have released a new album (CD) of songs that are recent re-recorded songs from the hit album 'Paper Lace And Other Bits Of Material' the CD is entitled "It's Worth It" and is dedicated to the life and memory of the original bass player Cliff Fish who died from cancer on 14 April 2023, at the age of 73.[11]

Hit era band members[edit]

  • Phil Wright (born Philip Wright, 9 April 1948, St. Ann's, Nottingham, England) — drums/lead vocals
  • Mick Vaughan (born Robert Michael Vaughan, 27 July 1950, Sheffield, Yorkshire) – lead/rhythm guitar/arranger
  • Cliff Fish (born Clifford Victor Fish, 13 August 1949, Ripley, Derbyshire, died 14 April 2023) – bass guitar
  • Chris Morris (born Christopher Morris, 1 November 1954, Nottingham, England) – guitar/vocals
  • Carlo Santanna (born Carlo Paul Santanna, 29 June 1947, Nottingham, England) – guitar/mandolin/vocals


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart
First Edition
  • Released: March 1972
  • Format: LP
  • Label: PHILIPS (6382 101)
And Other Bits of Material / Paper Lace
  • Released: June 1974
  • Format: LP
  • Label: BUS STOP (BUSLP 8001)
32 124 74


Year Single Peak chart positions Label
1971 "You Can't Touch Me" Concord CON 020
1972 "In the Morning (Morning of My Life)" Concord CON 021
1973 "Raggamuffin Man" Concord CON 027
1974 "Billy Don't Be a Hero" 96 1 1 1 3 Bus Stop Bus 1014
"The Night Chicago Died" 1 3 5 1 1 2 Bus Stop Bus 1016
"The Black-Eyed Boys" 41 11 7 23 37 Bus Stop Bus 1019
1975 "Hitchin' a Ride '75" 55[A] 16 Bus Stop Bus 1024
"So What If I Am" 64 Bus Stop Bus 1026
1976 "I Think I'm Gonna Like It" EMI EMI 2486
1978 "We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands" 24 Warner Bros K 171i7
1991 "Trinidad Boy" Happy Days Records

CD releases[edit]

  • Paper Lace and Other Material / First Edition (Double CD) – Cherry Red / 7t's Label Cat No. Glam Cdd 109; both albums, plus B-sides to all singles released until 1975[17]


  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".


  1. ^ "Phil Wright's Original 70s PAPER LACE". facebook/Phil Wright's Original 70s PAPER LACE. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Phil Wright (Paper Lace) interview". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Q&A with Phil Wright, drummer from Paper Lace". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Paper Lace" Archived 8 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine Sons and Lovers website, 2003. Retrieved 9 September 2006.
  5. ^ "Singles – Paper Lace". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 83. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. ^ a b "Paper Lace Reference number: 8438". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Carlo Paul Santanna". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Paper Lace (Band)". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  10. ^ "As Paper Lace discovered, 'there was no going against the power of the Beeb'". Nottingham Post. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  11. ^ Duffy, Carly (16 April 2023). "Paper Lace's Cliff Fish dies aged 73 after battling cancer with 'bravery and courage'". Daily Star. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  12. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 228. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "RPM Magazine - October 26, 1974 - Page 12" (PDF).
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know".
  15. ^ "Flavour of New Zealand". Retrieved 12 April 2023.
  16. ^ "RPM Top Singles, 1974-75".
  17. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 416. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]