Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17, 1974: Historically Inaccurate But Awesome Song Tops US Charts

Say what you want about the 1970s and the incredibly inane pop culture that it spawned, but I love 70s music, especially the wave after wave of bubblegum that crashed on our shores thanks to bands like The Bay City Rollers and Paper Lace.

Back in 1974 the UK's Paper Lace was actually cheated out of being a two-hit wonder. Before their original version of "Billy Don't Be a Hero" could be released in the States (written by Paper Lace’s Mitch Murray and Peter Callandar), Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods released their version of the Civil War-inspired tale and watched it top the charts in March.

Determined not to let the same thing happen with their take on organized crime in the US the band released the incredibly catchy "The Night Chicago Died" and watched it rocket up the charts and reach the #1 position on this date. Forget the fact that the battle commemorated in the track never happened and that the "East side of Chicago" is essentially under Lake Michigan – since when did we ever let historical inaccuracies get in the way of a good tune?

You know it's a great song when it can't even be ruined by a Western gunfight parody intro and a zillion shrieking Japanese girls.

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