The Night Chicago Died

The Night Chicago Died

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The Night Chicago Died

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"The Night Chicago Died" is a song by the British group Paper Lace, written by Peter Callander and Mitch Murray. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in 1974 and also reached number 3 in the UK charts. It is about a fictional shoot-out in Chicago between gangsters tied to Al Capone and the Chicago Police. The narrator retells his mother's anguish while awaiting news of the fate of her husband, a Chicago policeman.


"The Night Chicago Died" was Paper Lace's follow-up single to "Billy Don't Be a Hero", a #1 hit in the U.K. but virtually unheard in the U.S. where Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods' cover reached #1. Callander and Murray wrote both songs.

The U.S. single received a Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, signifying sales of at least one million copies. Though the song's story is set in America, Paper Lace were unable to perform the song live in the U.S. at the height of its popularity because of contractual issues.


"The Night Chicago Died" is a work of fiction. Although it references the notorious Chicago mobster Al Capone and his gang by name, no such massive police shootout took place during Capone's reign as the head of the city's organized crime syndicate. In fact, police often worked with the gangsters, soliciting and accepting bribes, and sometimes even standing guard during liquor deliveries. Capone's criminal...
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