Paper Lace: The Night Chicago Died
On the east side of Chicago
Back in the U S A
Back in the bad old days
In the heat of a summer night
In the land of the dollar bill
When the town of Chicago died
And they talk about it still
When a man named Al Capone
Tried to make that town his own
And he called his gang to war
Against the forces of the law
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was, glory be
"The Night Chicago Died" is a song by British group Paper Lace. This song, along with "Billy Don't Be A Hero" were their two biggest hits.
The song is about a fictional shoot-out between the Chicago Police and gangsters tied to Al Capone. It may have been inspired by the real-life Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, although that involved Capone's men killing seven of Bugs Moran's gang members and had nothing to do with the police. The song's events supposedly take place "on the East Side of Chicago." Chicago has three commonly referred-to regions: the North Side, the West Side and the South Side, with the easternmost city addresses along the shores of Lake Michigan. The East Side is not one of these "sides" of town, but is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of Cook County. East Side is 13 miles away from where Capone lived on Prairie Avenue in Chicago.
The songwriters said in interviews that they had never been to Chicago before that time, and that their knowledge of the city and that period of its history had been based on gangster films.
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