” Billy Don’t Be a Hero ” is by Paper Lace, the British pop group. The original members consisted of Phillip Wright, Cliff Fish, Chris Morris, Carlo Santanna and Michael Vaughan.
The group was formed in 1967 in the English city of Nottingham. The city, situated in the county of Nottinghamshire, is best known for the legend of Robin Hood, the heroic outlaw in English folklore. According to the famous legend, he was a skilled archer and swordsman. Nottingham is also known for its importance as the centre for the manufacture of lace; the industry helped it become prosperous during the time of the Industrial Revolution.
Paper Lace began life as Music Box in 1967, playing gigs in small clubs around the area. They later changed their name to Paper Lace to reflect the famous city of lace manufacture.
In 1972 they released First Edition, the first of two studio albums. Although the group made some appearances on TV in the United Kingdom, mainstream success eluded them until 1973 when they won Opportunity Knocks.
The talent contest series was aired on ITV, a commercial TV network in the United Kingdom. Beginning life on radio, it moved to the TV in 1956. Paper lace appeared in the second run of Opportunity Knocks which had viewing figures of seven million and was first aired on the 11th of July 1964 until the series ended on the 20th of March 1978. At that time the host was Hughie Green.
Paper Lace went on to release several singles, and one became a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper. The follow-up single, ” The Night Chicago Died ” spent one week at the top of the chart in the United States for one week in 1974 and reached number three in the United Kingdom. Paper Lace officially split in 1980, today there are two versions of the group tour.
” Billy Don’t Be a Hero ” was written and produced by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander. Mitch is an English songwriter and record producer. He first found success as a songwriter when he wrote ” How Do You Do It? “, a song first recorded by the Beatles. The song wasn’t released by them but taken up by Gerry and the Pacemakers who took it to the top of the UK Singles Chart in 1963. He has written for the likes of Freddie and the Dreamers, Vanity Fare, Manfred Mann, The Dave Clark Five, Georgie Fame and Tony Christie. Mitch has won two Ivor Novello Awards and is a best-selling author.
Peter Callander was an English songwriter and record producer. He wrote or co-wrote songs that have been recorded by many top artists like Cilla Black, Tom Jones, Cliff Richard, Shirley Bassey and The Tremeloes.
A songwriting partner of Mitch Murray, many hits were penned by them. Their hits included the 1968 hit single ” The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde ” by Georgie Fame and ” Monsieur Dupont “, a song originally written by Christian Bruhn, the German songwriter and producer in 1967, which became a hit for Sandie Shaw two years later. Peter Callander died on the 25th of February 2014 aged 74.
The song was released in 1974 by record label Mercury Records ( Universal Music Group ) and features on their US version album, Paper Lace.
Lyrically the song doesn’t mention a specific war, but because of the release date, many associated it with the war in Vietnam. The members of Paper Lace wore soldiers uniforms from the American Civil War while performing the song and so it is considered to be about that conflict.
” Billy Don’t Be a Hero ” was a commercial success for Paper Lace. In the United States, the song reached a peak of number ninety-six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, spending three weeks on the chart there. It also reached number sixty-eight on the Cash Box Top 100 Chart.
In the United Kingdom, the song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 23rd of February 1974 and reached Number One, spending three weeks at the top. It spent seven weeks in the Top Ten and a total of fourteen weeks on the UK chart.
BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: 96
UK Highest Chart Position: 1
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia KMR 1, Ireland (IRMA) 1, New Zealand (Listener) 3
Official Website: Paperlace.org
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/Phil-Wrights-Original-70s-PAPER-LACE
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/PaperLaceGroups billy dont be a herobilly dont be a hero paper lacepaper lace