Carlo Paul Santanna

Early Life

Carlo’s Italian mother and Polish father came to the United Kingdom where Carlo was born, after the Second World War. In his early years Carlo spent most of his childhood in Polish camps and could only speak Italian and Polish. His parents were very strict Roman Catholics and were obsessed with his religion development during his childhood and wanted him to become a Roman Catholic priest. His mother was constantly home sick and returned to Italy taking both Carlo and his sister back to her native land. After two years they returned back to this country. His father was a coal miner for 35 years and worked in pits in Yorkshire and Derbyshire.The family finally settled in Shirebrook. He attended Brookfield Junior School and Shirebrook Carter Lane Secondary Boys School and then went on to Chesterfield College of Art where he studied to become an Art Teacher and also took a course in Graphic design.

Teaching Job

After leaving college he had jobs in window dressing, interior design and printing and did a short vocational teaching job in Mansfield (evening classes) teaching students design and store advertising. However, Carlo’s love of music got the better of him and in 1972 Carlo turned professional, much to the disappointment of his mother and father. He played guitar in various local groups: The Cheaters, The Dickins Faces, The Four R’s and The Threepenny Piece. In 1973 was spotted by Keith Potger of New Seekers fame, who was reforming The Springfields (later to be called Springfield Revival) and who offered Carlo the role of lead singer.

Joining Paper Lace

Carlo reluctantly declined the offer and in 1974 was asked to join the hit recording artists Paper Lace (as guitarist and lead singer). At first he declined the offer but finally was persuaded to join. Hits from the group include Billy Don’t Be a Hero and The Night Chicago Died, The Black Eyed Boys and Hitchin a Ride ’74. All four songs were worldwide hits. Carlo has appeared on various pop programmes including BBC’s Top Of The Pops. He has met many top stars and one of his most memorable moments was appearing with Mama Cass at the London Palladium on The Royal Variety Command Performance

Carlo left Paper Lace in 1976 to go solo.

After Paper Lace

He was voted Number 1 Male Vocalist (1977 – 1978) in the Club Mirror’s National Club Awards. He has won many major clubland trophies and his TV appearances include Wheeltappers and Shunters Club, Seaside Special, Stars on Sunday, Rising Stars, Showcase from Wales and recently Yorkshires TV’s Calendar. He has starred in various radio broadcasts and was previously signed to the Philips, Mercury, Phonogram record labels. Carlo has had much success in Australia and Malta, where he has had his own TV show.

In 1983 he teamed up with Bill Haslem, a Nottingham songwriter, and so far they have penned about 850 songs and jingles, some recorded by other artists. He is a member of the Performing Rights Society, B.A.S.C.A. M.C.P.S and Equity.

Carlo is also a keen fund raiser for charity and various organisations.

He has furthered his musical craft by training in opera for 18 months under ex-Royal College singing Laura Delaroc.



Comments about this page

  • Sorry I missed you and your work, you certainly made a good impression, saw your pic in the paper recently, you’re looking well. Best wishes, will look for your work / songs from hereon. I left Mansfield in ’63 returning for a couple of years only in ’76.
    Almost forgot Happy Birthday Carlo.

    By Steeve Cee. (20/07/2022)
  • I know someone who has one of his guitars from the early years

    By Stuart (17/07/2022)
  • I remember Carlo when he worked with my dad at the coop in Mansfield.
    Good to see he’s still working in music, I remember seeing him at Heart of the Midlands where he sang without a microphone and the whole audience were captivated by his voice, you could hear a pin drop until he’d finished singing then the audience went wild!

    By Martin Zuerner (28/10/2021)


    By Editors (05/01/2021)
  • Hi Carlo hope your keeping well and safe in these strange and difficult times. Wondered how you were as was about to send a Christmas card, not sure if you still in Notts, (met you on P&O cruise approx 2007), got chatting about writing music, you kindly recommended me a book so sending you best wishes for peace, joy and happiness at this special time of year. Still enjoying your music. Regards Rob

    By Rob Compton (12/12/2020)
  • I met Carlo when Paper Lace played at Kings Country Club in Eastbourne, I was asked to be in the Hitchin a Ride video appearing as Carlo’s girlfriend along with 4 other girls chosen.
    I still have very fond memories of that time & still live in Eastbourne !
    Thank you for being part of my teen years.

    By Jan Williams (19/05/2019)
  • I knew Carlo from school, he was in a band that played with Ray Macmahon, Clive Bumstead and Stuart More at the Central Dancehall in Shirebrook. He went onto play lead guitar with The Cheaters in 1963. On then to join the 4Rs with Bob Lee &Reg Enoch with Bob Cope on bass. The first band in this area to work without a drummer! Then onto The Threepenny Piece. Bob Lee vocals, Steve Smith Bass Guitar and vocals Carlo lead guitar and vocals. They worked without a drummer !! Something new at this time .(1969/72). They relied on musical ability and vocal harmonies. Then Carlo was asked to join Paper Lace so the Threepenny Piece disbanded. Steve Smith went with other bands and Bob Lee worked solo for 15 years when after a reunion concert at Warsop Working Men’s Club the old band The Cheaters did a reunion concert and raised £1,000 for the first Scanner to be used in Kings Mill Hospital, Bob Lee &Steve Smith worked together as Spirit for over 20 years as a vocal harmony duo. We still keep in touch with Carlo. These musicians he worked with were his musical and his Shirebrook roots .

    By Beverley Lee, via Albert Rhodes (23/04/2019)
  • My wife & I saw Carlo in the Workmans Club in Blackpool around 1992. On the way back to our B&B my wife went over on her ankle,(breaking it) on the tram tracks! Even though we spent the next day in the hospital a&e and with her ankle in plaster, she insisted on going back to the club to see Carlo again!! After he finished the show & was signing pics and selling his latest ‘tape’, we queued up to get a copy, when he saw her, he’d remembered us from the previous night and showed genuine concern for plight, he gave her a copy for free, signed it & posed for a photo, also chatted for a while… Still remember what a quality singer/ vocalist Carlo is, back then, he finished his set with ‘Nessun dorma’, and a fantastic job he done on it too. Very happy times, I would like to thank Carlo for some wonderful memories back in ’92..

    By Les Kellett (19/04/2019)
  • Anyone wishing to get in touch with me please comment here and the site Editors will put you in touch. Sorry its been so long but I’ve only just seen this page, I confess I’m a Luddite.

    By carlo paul santanna (08/04/2019)
  • Carlo,

     You have made me want to look deeper into our family history.

      Thank you.

    (your cousin )

            Mario Battisti

    By Mario Battisti (22/08/2017)
  • Does any one know where I can buy any cds of Carlo?

    By john (31/07/2016)
  • Worked with you a lot in Australia you recorded two demos in my studio @ Easter would love you to get in Touch  Rod little

    By Rod Little (03/06/2016)
  • Dear Carlo we met you march 2014 in egypt and have lost your cotact info if you read this can you contact chris and steve

    By Christine Johnson (14/02/2015)
  • I can remember working with Carlos at the Mansfield CO-OP when he was the window dresser he still owes me for a cup of coffee from the canteen.

    By David Riley (09/10/2013)
  • We have just started to go and see Carlo, my husband and l both have a great night singing away to his songs. It brings back thoughts of my childhood when my mum would listen to Paper Lace, great night for any age.

    By kathleen wardle (22/04/2013)
  • I Remember Carl at Billing Aquadrome, Northamton, you are great!

    By derek headland (15/02/2012)
  • Wasnt Hitchin a Ride performed by Vanity Fare and not Paper Lace

    By STEPHEN WALKER (15/01/2012)
  • Paper Lace covered it as an album track in ’74 and then as a single in ’75.

    By Berisford Jones (15/01/2012)
  • I’ve still got “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” and “The Night Chicago Died” in my 45’s collection. I remember singing away to them in my bedroom to my hearts content with the calls from my dad to turn it down. Thank you for the trip to my childhood.

    By Lara Mellor (29/08/2010)

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