Daily Archives: May 8, 2010

Saturday Night Music Byte

Paper Lace

Paper Lace was a Nottingham, England based pop group, formed in 1969. They are known to Americans as a one-hit wonder; however, in the UK they were a “classic two and a half hit wonder”. The core of the band originally formed in 1967 as Music Box, but changed their name to Paper Lace when Phil Wright joined as drummer and lead singer.

The band took their name from lace products created from a special grade of high quality paper manufactured in Nottingham, their hometown. 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. A season at Tiffany’s, a Rochdale club, led to more television appearances, but a passport to the charts did not arrive until a 1974 victory on Opportunity Knocks, the ITV talent contest series.

According to drummer and lead singer Phil Wright:

Opportunity Knocks was pretty much the 70s version of The X-Factor. There was a huge audition week in 1970 at the Bridgford Hotel, which is now the Rushcliffe Borough Council building near the City Ground. And there were thousands of people queuing up. We turned up in our best suits, did a few numbers, and were told that they liked us but not to expect to go on straight away. When they finally got back to us in 1973, we thought; do we really need this now? But they were getting viewing figures of 7 million, so we went for it. And we won five weeks on the trot! There were two songwriters (Mitch Murray and Peter Callender) who got in touch with our management and offered us “Billy Don’t Be a Hero”, with the possibility of more songs if it took off. We went down, recorded it, and they said “Hey, this is a great song, it’s going to be a hit”. And the song proved to be stronger than the band, because everyone knows it, they just can’t remember who recorded it. Except in Nottingham, of course…”

Thanks to that show, songwriters/producers, Mitch Murray and Peter Callender quickly signed them. The smash hit “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” spent three weeks at Number one on the UK Singles Chart in March 1974. It was followed by an equally catchy story song, which reached the Number 3 called “The Night Chicago Died”. Another release, “The Black-Eyed Boys”, took Paper Lace to Number 11 in late 1974.

With their subject matter about the American Civil War, it was logical that “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” should become a hit in the United States; however, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods were the first to release “Billy” in the United States, and Paper Lace had to be content with a #96 placing. However, the follow-up song “The Night Chicago Died”, set in the Prohibition era with reference to Al Capone, was untroubled by any such competition and topped the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over three million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1974.

According to Phil Wright,

“Well, that [Chicago song] was even more successful. Number 1 in America. I got a platinum disc for that… and I certainly didn’t give that away! I remember us being on Top Of The Pops and Elton John shaking my hand backstage and congratulating us on a US No.1, which he hadn’t achieved at the time! The really strange thing was we couldn’t even perform the song in America, due to some contractual hassles. And the label told us that they could make it a hit without us having to be there. We did a few radio stations, but that’s all.”

The group released two albums, Paper Lace and Other Bits of Material (1974) and the strangely titled second album, First Edition (1975); however, they quickly faded from the public eye as the band’s popularity waned. Philip Wright and Cliff Fish carried on as Paper Lace, with other musicians filling in for the missing band members. 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 F.C. (Sendra, 2006). The 7″ single, with “The Nottingham Forest March” as the B-side, reached Number 24 in the UK chart but bizarrely went Top 10 in the Netherlands.

In 1997, Wright rejoined Sons and Lovers, the band he left to join Paper Lace; however, he does occasional gigs billed as Philip Wright’s Paper Lace.

They were the most successful band Nottingham ever produced, and were invited to perform on the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen Mother.

Please enjoy this music video of Paper Lace performing their hit, “The Night Chicago Died”.

Hey Tea-Baggers, Don’t Eat The Brown Acid!

Any day that you can repeat the famous “Don’t Eat The Brown Acid” line from the 1968 Woodstock festival is a good day for Lynnrockets’ Blast-Off. Today, we can thank the Tea Party and its membership of Tea-Baggers for the opportunity. Unfortunately, the warning may be too late. It appears that they have been tripping on something bad for the last eighteen months since their manufactured creation. Oh, and “what a long, strange trip it’s been”!

The Des Moines Register (Iowa) reported this week that,

An event described as the “Woodstock” of tea parties is planned for Sept. 11 at the Monona County Fairgrounds in Onawa in western Iowa. Craig Halverson of Griswold, who is helping to organize the event, said supporters hope to attract at least 1,000 people from Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and other states. He said they are inviting prominent conservative speakers and plan to have bands perform patriotic music.

The event will have a “Take back our country” theme, Halverson said. Although the activities will occur on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, he said organizers don’t plan to spend the day reflecting on those events.

The whole idea of a group of socially awkward, old, white, conservative men gathering together is far more reminiscent of the early bird dinner hour at an AARP convention than the wildly famous counter-cultural youth phenomena which was Woodstock. The fact that the organizer only expects a group of “at least 1000 people” underscores the insignificance of the event. To add insult to injury, the gathering is scheduled to take place on September 11th. That tragic day will be remembered by all Americans and the horrible events that took place had absolutely nothing to do with taxes, bailouts, health care reform or anything else having to do with “taking back our country”. The Tea-Baggers should be ashamed of themselves for trying to capitalize on that day of tragedy.

Then again, what could we expect? The Tea-Baggers have been tripping on some sort of hallucinogen since their creation which has blurred and warped their perception of historical events. They have stripped founding father Thomas Jefferson from the history books. They think it is patriotic for their states to secede from the union. They deny that Medicare was created as and continues to be, a government program. Consequently, is it that much of a stretch for them to believe that September 11th was the day when taxes or bailouts went out of control? The Tea-Baggers are certainly suffering from a bad trip. Heck, their de-facto Queen, Sarah Palin named her oldest son Track after the marks left behind from intrvenous drug use and her grandchild (?) is named  Tripp. How appropriate.

At least the event will allow the rest of us to laugh our collective asses off at all of the Tea-Baggers’ now famous misspelled signs.

Please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s song parody.

Magical Mystery Tour song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnrsqf33MXA


(sung to The Beatles song “Magical Mystery Tour”)

Roll up, roll up for the tragical misery tour. Step right this way.

Roll up, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up AND THAT’S AN INVITATION, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION, roll up for the misery tour
The tragical misery tour is eating your brain cells away
Eating your brain cells away

Roll up, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, WE DON’T CARE IF YOU CAN’T READ, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, SO LONG AS YOU CAN SCREAM, roll up for the misery tour
The tragical misery tour will even pay you for the day
Even pay you for the day

(The misery trip is waiting)

Roll up, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, TO MAKE A RESERVATION, roll up for the misery tour
Roll up, FOR INSANE CONVERSATION, roll up for the misery tour
The tragical misery tour wants insurers to keep their payday
Please help them to have their way
The tragical misery tour is hoping that you die away
After you make your co-pay, make your co-pay