Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate are a British pop band popular during the 1970s and 1980s, formed by Errol Brown. The act had at least one hit every year between 1970 and 1984 and their song "You Sexy Thing" made the Top 10 in three decades.


They were originally named 'The Hot Chocolate Band' by Mavis Smith, who worked for the Apple Corps press office. This was quickly shortened to Hot Chocolate by Mickie Most.

Hot Chocolate started their recording career making a reggae version of John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance," but Brown was told he needed permission. He was contacted by Apple Records, discovered that John Lennon liked his version, and the group was subsequently signed to Apple Records. The link was short-lived as The Beatles were starting to break up, and the Apple connection soon ended.

In 1970 Hot Chocolate, with the help of record producer Mickie Most, began releasing tracks that became hits, such as "Love is Life", "Emma", "You Could Have Been a Lady", and "I Believe in Love." All those releases were on the RAK record label, owned by Most. Brown and bassist Tony Wilson wrote most of their original material, and also provided hits for Herman's Hermits, "Bet Yer Life I Do", and Mary Hopkin, "Think About Your Children".

Gradually the five piece, Brixton, London based, outfit started to become UK Singles Chart regulars. "Brother Louie", which featured a guest spoken vocal from Alexis Korner, and "Emma" introduced their distinctive sound.

It was in the disco era of the mid 1970s onwards, that Hot Chocolate became a big success. A combination of high production standards, the growing confidence of the main songwriting team of Wilson and Brown, and tight harmonies enabled them to secure further big hits like "You Sexy Thing" and "Every 1's a Winner", which were also U.S. hits, peaking at #3 and #6, respectively. After Wilson's departure for a solo career, that included a 1976 album I Like Your Style, Brown assumed songwriting duties.

In 1977, after scoring 15 hits, they finally reached Number One with "So You Win Again". It was one of the few of their recordings that was not penned, at least partly, by Brown. The track was a Russ Ballard composition.

The band became the only group, and one of just three acts, that scored a hit in every year of the 1970s in the UK charts (the other two being Elvis Presley and Diana Ross). The band eventually had at least one hit, every year, between 1970 and 1984. Critically, they were often lambasted or simply ignored, and apart from compilations their albums such as Cicero Park sold modestly.

They continued well into the 1980s, and clocked up another big hit record: "It Started With a Kiss", in 1982, which reached Number 5 in the UK. In all, the group charted 25 UK Top 40 hit singles. Their single "You Sexy Thing" became the only track that made British Top Ten status in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Its renewed appreciation can be perhaps credited in part to its appearances in a string of successful films starting with the 1997 comedy The Full Monty. From the late 1980s onwards the group experienced a resurgence of credibility: Urge Overkill, PJ Harvey and The Sisters of Mercy all added Hot Chocolate songs to their live sets.

When Hot Chocolate disbanded in 1986, Errol Brown did not have much solo success, although two of his singles did make the UK Singles Chart - "Personal Touch" and "Body Rockin'". The band's enduring popularity was verified when two compilation albums both reached #1 in the UK Albums Chart (see below). In 2003 Errol Brown received the MBE; and in 2004, the Ivor Novello Award for his contribution to British music.

In 1992, with a new line-up, manager and agent, Ric Martin, took control over the band's bookings and live appearances. Today Hot Chocolate are again making live appearances in the UK and Europe.


Note: chart positions are for the respective UK Albums Chart and UK Singles Chart

Studio albums

* Cicero Park (US #55) (1974)
* Hot Chocolate (UK #34, US #41) (November 1975)
* Man to Man (UK #32, US #172) (August 1976)
* Every 1's a Winner (UK #30, US #31) (April 1978)
* Going Through the Motions (US #112)(1979)
* Class (1980)
* Mystery (#24) (September 1982)
* Love Shot (1983)

Compilation albums

* XIV Greatest Hits (#6) (November 1976)
* 20 Hottest Hits (#3) (December 1979)
* The Very Best of Hot Chocolate (#1) (February 1987)
* Their Greatest Hits (#1) (March 1993)
* Greatest Hits Part Two (January 1999)
* Best of the 70's (2000)
* The Essential Collection (2004)
* A's B's & Rarities (2004)


* "Give Peace a Chance" (October 1969)
* "Love is Life" (#6) (August 1970)
* "You Could Have Been a Lady" (#22) (March 1971)
* "I Believe (In Love)" (#8) (August 1971)
* "Mary-Anne" (February 1972)
* "You'll Always Be a Friend" (#23) (October 1972)
* "Brother Louie" (#7) (April 1973)
* "Rumours" (#44) (August 1973)
* "Emma" (#3) (March 1974)
* "Changing World" (uncharted) 1974
* "Cheri Babe" (#31) (November 1974)
* "Blue Night" (1975)
* "Disco Queen" (#11) (May 1975)
* "A Child's Prayer" (#7) (August 1975)
* "You Sexy Thing" (#2) (November 1975)
* "Don't Stop it Now" (#11) (March 1976)
* "Man to Man" (#14) (June 1976)
* "Heaven Is in the Back Seat of My Cadillac" (#25) (August 1976)
* "So You Win Again" (#1) (June 1977)
* "Put Your Love in Me" (#10) (November 1977)
* "Every 1's a Winner" (#12) (March 1978)
* "I'll Put You Together Again" (#13) (December 1978)
* "Mindless Boogie" (#46) (May 1979)
* "Going Through the Motions" (#53) (July 1979)
* "No Doubt About It" (#2) (May 1980)
* "Are You Getting Enough of What Makes You Happy" (#17) (July 1980)
* "Love Me to Sleep" (#50) (December 1980)
* "Gotta give up your love" (February 1981)
* "You'll Never Be So Wrong" (#52) (May 1981)
* "I'm Losing You"/"Children Of Spacemen" (1981)
* "Girl Crazy" (#7) (April 1982)
* "It Started With a Kiss" (#5) (July 1982)
* "Chances" (#32) (September 1982)
* "What Kinda Boy You're Lookin' For (Girl)" (#10) (May 1983)
* "Tears on the Telephone" (#37) (September 1983)
* "I'm Sorry" (1983) (#89) (November 1983)
* "I Gave You My Heart (Didn't I)" (#13) (February 1984)
* "Heartache No. 9" (1986) (#76) (March 1986)
* "You Sexy Thing (Ben Liebrand remix)" (#10) (January 1987)
* "Every 1's a Winner (Groove Mix)" (#69) (April 1987)
* "No Doubt About It (remix)" (1987)
* "Heaven Is in the Backseat of My Cadillac (remix)" (1988)
* "Never Pretend" (1988)
* "It Started with a Kiss" (#31) (re-issue March 1993)
* "You Sexy Thing" (#6) (re-issue November 1997)
* "It Started with a Kiss" (#18) (second re-issue February 1998)

Band personnel

The following individuals comprised the band for most of its active period:

* Errol Brown - born 12 November 1948, Kingston, Jamaica. - vocalist / songwriter.
* Tony Connor - born 6 April 1947, Romford - drummer.
* Larry Ferguson - born 14 April 1948, Nassau, Bahamas - keyboards.
* Harvey Hinsley - born 19 January 1948, Northampton - guitarist.
* Brian Satterwhite - born 22 March 1957, Oak Ridge - vocalist / bassist (from 1973-?).
* Tony Wilson - born 8 October 1947, Trinidad - bassist / songwriter (up to 1975).
* Patrick Olive - born 22 March 1947, Grenada - percussionist / took over bass duties in 1975.
* Ian King - born 1947 - drums (1970–1973)


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