Paper Lace bass player Cliff Fish dies, aged 73

17 April 2023, 12:09 | Updated: 17 April 2023, 12:20

Cliff Fish with Paper Lace
Cliff Fish with Paper Lace. Picture: Getty Images

By Mayer Nissim

Cliff Fish was a founding member of 1970s hitmakers Paper Lace.

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Paper Lace bass player Cliff Fish has died at the age of 73.

Cliff's wife Elaine and sons Rob and Jon confirmed his death in a statement to The Sun at the weekend.

"We just wanted to share the sad news that Cliff passed away on Friday afternoon after losing his battle with cancer," the statement read.

"The last two years have been very difficult but Cliff faced the challenges of cancer with bravery, courage and lived his life to the fullest he possibly could right to the end.

"Everyone that knows Cliff will already know what a kind, caring, fun loving, wonderful, genuine person he was and what a pleasure it was to spend time in his company."

Paper Lace – Billy - Don't Be A Hero (Top of the Pops 25.12.1974) - stereo

It continued: "Not only a talented musician and performer, he made a success from anything he turned his hand to in life and was a devoted Husband, Father and Grandfather throughout.

"Cliff will never be forgotten and he will never stop being unconditionally loved by his family and friends. Rest in peace Cliff. X"

His Paper Lace bandmate Phil Wright said: "It is with great unbelievable sadness and the heaviest of hearts that I mourn the passing today of this lovely guy.

Cliff Fish
Cliff Fish. Picture: Getty Images

"I have known him since 1967 when I joined the band which eventually became Paper Lace."

He added: "My heart goes out to the family I have come to know and love, Elaine his wife and his two sons Jon and Rob.

"The world will be a darker place from now on, Cliff you will be missed by me and all the people who knew you."

Cliff formed Music Box alongside Dave Manders, Roy White and Phil Wright in 1967, before the group changed their name to Paper Lace two years later.

Paper Lace - The Night Chicago Died

They released a number of records and burst into the mainstream in 1973 after they won the ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks.

Paper Lace had three massive hits the following year, including 'The Black-Eyed Boys', 'The Night Chicago Died' and the chart-topping 'Billy Don't Be A Hero'.

The hit era group featured Phil Wright, Mick Vaughan, Cliff Fish, Chris Morris and Carlo Santanna.

Despite some lineup changes, Fish remained with the group until their split in 1980.

Paper Lace promoting 'The Night Chicago Died'
Paper Lace promoting 'The Night Chicago Died'. Picture: Getty Images

Fish didn't rejoin the reformed group in 1983, while more recently there have been two different bands touring under the Paper Lace banner.

Paper Lace features Carlo Paul Santanna, Chris Raynor, Graham Wyvill, John Raynor and occasionally Chris Morris.

Meanwhile, Fish had been playing with a group called Phil Wright's Original 70s Paper Lace, which featured Wright and Fish alongside Dave Major and Phil Hendriks.

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