Paper Lace

The Night Chicago Died

Composed by Mitch Murray / Peter Callander

Song Review by

Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died" is unfairly lumped in with the likes of "Afternoon Delight" and "Billy Don't Be A Hero" as one of the nadirs of '70s AM bubblegum. While it's undeniable that the song is both factually inaccurate -- as generations of nitpickers have pointed out, there is no East Side of Chicago, and Al Capone never engineered a police massacre -- and unrepentantly over the top, it has more in common with a tongue-in-cheek art-pop masterpiece like 10cc's "Rubber Bullets." The arrangement is wildly overactive, breezily flipping instrumental and vocal textures and engineering some hairpin left turns and unexpected start-stop dynamics, even throwing in some sound effects and ear-grabbing noises like the very odd and prominent clipped, overprocessed cymbal sound that shows up once a verse for about four bars at a time and then disappears again. Had this song not been an inescapable AM radio hit for what seemed like decades, this is exactly the sort of song that ironic hipsters would play on their college radio shows all the time.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Fiddler On The Roof/Decades Collection 1970s 1971
Various Artists
Metro Goldwyn Mayer 3:31
No Image 1974 Mercury
No Image 1975
Various Artists
Adam VIII
Back to the '70s, Vol. 3 1989
Various Artists
Dominion 3:38
No Image 1990
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 13 1990
Various Artists
Rhino 3:33
Have a Nice Day: Super Hits of the 70's Sampler 1990
Various Artists
Rhino
Super 70's, Vol. 2 1993
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:35
Rock 'n' Roll Fever of the 60's & 70's 1994
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:23
Class Reunion 1974: The Greatest Hits of 1974 1994
Various Artists
Rebound Records 3:32
Prom Night: The 70s 1995
Various Artists
Special Music Company / Special Music 3:29
Super Box of Rock, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:35
Greatest Hits of the 70's [Arcade] 1995
Various Artists
Arcade Music 3:28
Rock Dreams, Vol. 1 [Eclipse Music Group] 1996
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 3:40
Precious & Few 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:35
AM Gold: 1974 1996
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:33
Million Selling Songs: 70's 1997
Various Artists
St. Clair / Prime Cuts 3:19
Hit Songs from the 70's [Deuce] 1997
Various Artists
Deuce 3:22
Back to the Seventies [Madacy] 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:39
Global Rock, Vol. 5: From London to L.A. 1997
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
The Seventies Generation: 1974 1997
Various Artists
St. Clair / Retro Records 3:21
The Ultimate History of Rock 'N' Roll Collection 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:35
'70s Party Classics/Killers 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:32
The Ultimate History of Rock & Roll Collection, Vol. 9: Easy 70's 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:15
#1 Hits: The 70's Decade 1998
Various Artists
St. Clair / Number 1 Hits 3:21
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:31
Spirt of the Seventies 1998
Various Artists
Ultimate Music Collection 3:20
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
AM Gold: Mellow Hits 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:32
Little Bit of England 1999
Various Artists
Intercontinental Records 3:22
Rock N' Roll Hits of the 70's:  #1 Hits of the 70's 1999
Various Artists
Madacy 3:15
Hits of the '70s [Legacy Entertainment] 2000
Various Artists
Legacy 3:20
Groups That Rocked the 70's 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:15
Seventies Generation: 1974-1975 2000
Various Artists
Boxsets 3:21
Rock Revolution 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:20
Rock Revival: Rocking Down the House 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:21
The Best of the 70's, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:19
Best of the 70's [Direct Source 6 CD Box] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:20
Greatest Hits: Rock 'N' Roll of the 70's 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 3:15
It's the '70s Again, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
ATP Recordings 3:20
Forever Gold: British Invasion 2001
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:15
70's Superstars 2001
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:20
Virgin Megamusic: Chicago 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Number 1 Hits 50's 60's & 70's 2002
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:21
Greatest Hits 2002 Import 3:31
Great Story Songs 2002
Various Artists
Dominion Entertainment / K-Tel / K-Tel Distribution 3:12
The British Invasion [Goldies] 2002
Various Artists
Goldies
Best of Paper Lace 2002 Time Music 3:21
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Best of the 70's [Madacy] 2002
Various Artists
Madacy 3:14
The Hit Box, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
United Multi Consign 3:23
Sensational '70s [2002/Purple] 2002
Various Artists
Madacy 3:12
Night Ride 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:22
One Hit Wonders 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:14
Hit Box 2, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
United Multi License 3:23
Greatest Hits of the 70's [Platinum 2003 #1] 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:12
Hits by Decade 2003
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:21
No Image 2003 7T's / Cherry Red / Glam 3:33
Hits of the 70's [Pegasus] 2003
Various Artists
Pegasus 3:37
No Image 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:12
One Hit Wonders: Pop 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:41
Gold Collection: Golden Oldies 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:41
One Hit Wonders [St. Clair] 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:40
Ultimate Decades [Box] 2004
Various Artists
United Audio Entertainment 3:20
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Dominion 3:16
70's Rock Hits [Madacy] 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 3:21
Vintage Pop 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:31
Hit Radio Flashback, Vol. 2 2005
Various Artists
United Audio Entertainment 3:13
Legends: 70's Radio Legends 2005
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:13
70's Radio Hits [St. Clair] 2005
Various Artists
Vinyl Collection 3:21
1970's Top 10 Hits 2005
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:16
Am Radio: One Hit Wonders 2005
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:41
40 #1 Hits: The Seventies 2005
Various Artists
GP Serie / Musicpro 3:22
The Pop Years 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:23
70's Groove Machine [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:21
K-Tel Presents: #1 Hits of the 70's 2006
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:21
#1 Hits of the 70s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:31
70s #1 Hit Parade 2006
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:40
Best of the 70s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Sonoma Entertainment 3:21
Barry Williams Presents: One-Hit Wonders of the 70s 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:31
Sensational 70's [Weton] 2006
Various Artists
Weton
Rock N Roll of the 70s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
30 #1 Pop Hits 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:21
#1 Rock and Roll Hits 2006
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:31
One Hit Wonders [Horizon 2] 2006
Various Artists
Horizon / Horizon 2 3:19
Hits of the '70s [Madacy 2006] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:20
The Seventies: Lost Rock Classics 2007
Various Artists
American Beat Records 3:30
Pop Hits: 18 Greatest 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:21
Ultimate Hits: Best of the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:27
70s Music Explosion [Time Life] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:31
Number 1 Pop Hits of the '70s, Vol. 1 2007
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:21
70's Box: The Sound of a Decade 2007
Various Artists
Cleopatra 3:16
Ultimate Collecion: Hits of the 70s 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:21
Disco Party [Euro Trend] 2007
Various Artists
Euro Trend 3:21
Carrie: 1970s Decades Collection [CD/DVD] 2007
Various Artists
MGM 3:31
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Euro Trend / MCP 3:21
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Cheap O Lata / WG Productions
25 Best: Hits of the 1970's 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 3:19
Best of the 70's [Diamond] 2008
Various Artists
Diamond Recordings 3:23
Pure Temptations 2008
Various Artists
Eminence Records 3:30
70's Number One Hits 2008
Various Artists
TGG Direct 3:14
Rock and Roll of the 70's [Madacy 2008] 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 3:19
Jackie: The Album, Vol. 2 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 3:33
The Best of 1974: 20th Century Masters 2008
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing / Universal 3:31
Rock & Roll '70s 2009
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:31
Hits of the 70s [Sonoma] 2010
Various Artists
Sonoma 3:21
Saturday Night Party: '70s Party 2012
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 3:21
No Image
Various Artists
3:32
300 Hits: Saturday Night Party
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 3:21
60 #1 Pop Hits
Various Artists
AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 3:20
No Image
Various Artists
DPSM
Essential No. 1 Hits
Various Artists
Aao 3:40
No Image
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Global Rock, Vol. 4-6: From London to L.A.
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
No Image
Various Artists
Hit The Road: Route 66
Various Artists
AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 3:43
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 3:12
Pop Goes the 70s
Various Artists
StarVista / Time/Life Music 3:31
Rock 'N' Roll Fever of the Seventies, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Madacy 3:23
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 3:12
blue highlight denotes editor's pick