|Info on Paper Lace Guitarist Chris Morris|
There is something intriguing about gangsters, bad guys who are good guys, good guys who are bad guys, bad guys who are just simply bad any way you look at them. One of history's notorious criminals was Al Capone who attained national fame during the Prohibition era. He (or at least his name that is) has had starring roles in books and film. So, why not music?
1974 The British pop group Paper Lace rose to sudden, but brief, success in 1974. To Americans, they are a one-hit wonder. However, in the UK they made it to a classic two-and-a-half. The hit on this day in 1974, 'The Night Chicago Died'. Brother what a night it really was! Brother what a fight it really was! Glory be! The song tells a story about the notorious gangster Al Capone and his men having a shootout out with the police. There is plenty of debate as to whether or not the story depicted in the song is true. One must keep in mind that the song was written by someone on the other side of the Atlantic.Mitch Murray, who wrote the song, provided the following on songfacts.com:
I'd like to start by thanking your contributors for so many flattering comments regarding 'The Night Chicago Died.' As co-writer of this song, I feel qualified to settle some of the questions posed by those comments. My writing partner, Peter Callander, and I are both British and it's true, we'd never been to Chicago at the time we wrote the song - many other parts of the USA, but not Chicago. Having been brought up on a tasty diet of American gangster movies, the term 'East Side' usually meant the seamy side of a city. Of course, looking back, it was used about New York, not Chicago. We (actually, I mostly blame Peter because he had the last words on lyrics while I had the last word on the tunes) were obviously a little careless with our research, as we were when we wrote about Al Capone fighting the 'forces of the law' - I really don't think that ever happened; apparently, the cops were nearly all on Capone's payroll. The song was certainly a work of fiction, and as such, perhaps we should have used fictional gangster names. Still, it's hard to have regrets when your song is No 1 in the USA. Just to put the record straight, Paper Lace was the excellent group who recorded our song, but had nothing to do with the writing - that was our department, as was production of the record. Thank you all, once again, for your interest in 'The Night Chicago Died' Mitch Murray, London, England. (West Side of London)
News Flash: 'The Night Chicago Died' sold over three million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1974.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...