|Also known as||The Hot Chocolate Band|
|Origin||West Hampstead, London, England|
|Past members|| Errol Brown |
Hot Chocolate are a British soul band popular during the 1970s and 1980s, formed by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson. The act had at least one hit every year from 1970 to 1984, and their 1975 song "You Sexy Thing" made the Top 10 in three decades.
Formed in 1968, the band initially consisted of vocalist Errol Brown, guitarist Franklyn De Allie, drummer Jim King (shortly thereafter replaced by the unrelated Ian King), percussionist Patrick Olive, and bassist Tony Wilson;with keyboardist Larry Ferguson joining the band in the following year. The band was originally named "Hot Chocolate Band" by Mavis Smith, who worked for the Apple Corps press office. This was quickly shortened first to "The Hot Chocolate" and then to "Hot Chocolate" by Mickie Most. By 1970 the band's line-up had changed again to include Harvey Hinsley and Tony Connor (who was also a member of Audience at the time) replacing De Allie and King respectively.
Hot Chocolate started their recording career making a reggae version of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance", but frontman Errol Brown was told he needed permission. He was contacted by Apple Records, discovered that 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.
Later 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" (a US and Canadian hit for April Wine), 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", Julie Felix, "Heaven is Here", and Mary Hopkin, "Think About Your Children".
Gradually the band started to become UK Singles Chart regulars. One of the hits from this period, "Brother Louie", featured a guest spoken vocal from Alexis Korner.
It was in the disco era of the mid-1970s 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 vocal harmonies enabled them to secure further big hits such as "You Sexy Thing" and "Every 1's a Winner", which were also US hits, peaking at No. 3 (1976) and No. 6 (1979), respectively. After Wilson's departure for a solo career, that included a 1976 album I Like Your Style, Brown assumed all songwriting duties. Wilson was initially replaced by Brian Satterwhite; before Satterwhite departed the band and Olive switched to bass as his primary instrument.
In 1977, after 15 hits, they finally reached Number One with "So You Win Again". It was one of the few of their recordings that was not written, at least partly, by BrownThe track was a Russ Ballard composition.
The band became the only group, and one of just three acts, that had 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.
The band 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.
In 1987, Dutch DJ and producer Ben Liebrand made remixes of the Hot Chocolate hits;You Sexy Thing and Every 1's a Winner. Liebrand also made a combination remix of those two hits called Two in a Bed for the exclusive Disco Mix Club.
Renewed interest in Hot Chocolate came in part with the band’s appearances on a string of successful film soundtracks starting with the 1997 comedy The Full Monty , as well as in a 1989 acne lotion commercial (featuring a young Patsy Palmer).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, and Cud's cover of "You Sexy Thing" featured in John Peel's Festive 50.
Errol Brown and Larry Ferguson departed the band in 1986; ultimately leading the group to disband. Brown then began a solo career. Two of his singles made the UK Singles Chart – "Personal Touch" and "Body Rockin'". Hot Chocolate had a hit in 1988 in Germany. "Never Pretend" was written by Harvey Hinsley and Susan Stuttard, and the vocalist was Grant Evelyn.The band's enduring popularity was verified when two compilation albums both reached No. 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 the band reformed with new vocalist Greg Bannis and keyboardists Steve Ansell, Andy Smith, Willy Dowling, and Steve Matthews (the latter two of whom departed the band in 1994), and manager and agent Ric Martin took control over the band's bookings and live appearances.Kennie Simon took over lead vocals in 2010 following the departure of Bannis and Hot Chocolate continue to make live appearances in the UK and Europe.
On 6 May 2015, original frontman and principal songwriter Errol Brown died from liver cancer. He was 71.
All albums released by Rak Records unless otherwise noted.
Michael Peter Hayes, known as Mickie Most, was an English record producer behind scores of hit singles for acts such as the Animals, Herman's Hermits, the Nashville Teens, Donovan, Lulu, Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate, Arrows, Racey, and the Jeff Beck Group, often issued on his own RAK Records label.
The Gap Band was an American R&B and funk band that rose to fame during the 1970s and 1980s. The band consisted of three brothers Charlie, Ronnie, and Robert Wilson; and it was named after streets in the historic Greenwood neighborhood in the brothers' hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. After 43 years together, they retired in 2010.
"Call Me" is a song by the American new wave band Blondie and the theme to the 1980 film American Gigolo. Produced and composed by Italian musician Giorgio Moroder, with lyrics by Blondie singer Debbie Harry, the song appeared in the film and was released in the United States in early 1980 as a single. "Call Me" was No. 1 for six consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it became the band's biggest single and second No. 1. It also hit No. 1 in the UK and Canada, where it became their fourth and second chart-topper, respectively. In the year-end chart of 1980, it was Billboard's No. 1 single and RPM magazine's No. 3 in Canada.
Raydio is an American funk and R&B vocal group formed in 1977 by Ray Parker Jr., with Vincent Bohnam, Jerry Knight, and Arnell Carmichael.
"You Sexy Thing" is a song recorded by the British group Hot Chocolate. It was written by Hot Chocolate's lead singer Errol Brown and bass guitarist Tony Wilson, and was produced by Mickie Most. The song was released in October 1975 and reached number two on the UK Singles Chart in 1975, as well as number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 a year later. Billboard ranked it the number-twenty-two song for 1976. It went on to gain notability by being featured in films, such as The Full Monty (1997).
Errol Brown MBE was a British-Jamaican singer and songwriter, best known as the frontman of the soul and funk band Hot Chocolate. In 2004, Brown received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
"Brother Louie" is a song about an interracial love affair between a white man and a black woman, and the subsequent disowning of the man by his parents because of it. The title was written and sung by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson of the group Hot Chocolate, and was a No. 7 hit in the UK Singles Chart for the band in 1973, produced by Mickie Most. Alexis Korner has a spoken word part in this version of the song, Phil Dennys arrangement of the string section.
Chocolate Puma are a DJ and music production duo from Haarlem, North Holland, consisting of René ter Horst and Gaston Steenkist ("Dobre"). Their stage names include "Zki & Dobre", "The Good Men", and "The Goodmen".
Russell Glyn Ballard is an English singer, songwriter and musician.
"Emma" is a 1974 song by the British soul band Hot Chocolate. Written by band members Errol Brown (vocals) and Tony Wilson (music), the song address themes of suicide, early death and lost childhood. Brown's lyrics celebrate his recently passed mother. Their rawness was developed after the producer Mickie Most asked him for further "depth and darkness".
Sad Café are an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1976, who achieved their peak of popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for the UK Top 40 singles "Every Day Hurts", "Strange Little Girl", "My Oh My" and "I'm in Love Again", the first of which was their biggest hit, reaching number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979. The band also had two US Billboard Hot 100 hits with "Run Home Girl" and "La-Di-Da".
"So You Win Again" is a popular single from the Hot Chocolate album Every 1's a Winner. The single was released in June 1977.
"No Doubt About It" was a May 1980 single, by the British pop group Hot Chocolate.
Every 1's a Winner is the fourth studio album by British band Hot Chocolate. It was released in April 1978 on the RAK Records label in the UK and the Infinity Records label in the US. The album peaked at number 30 on the UK Albums Chart and number 31 on the US Billboard 200.
Cicero Park is the debut album by British soul band Hot Chocolate. It was released in June 1974 on the RAK Records label, owned by Mickie Most, who was the band's producer. The album peaked at number fifty-five on the US Billboard 200 album chart.
Hot Chocolate is the second studio album by British soul band Hot Chocolate. It was released in November 1975 on the RAK Records label, owned by Mickie Most, who was the band's producer. The album peaked at number thirty-four on the UK Albums Chart and forty-one on the US Billboard 200 album chart.
Man to Man is the third studio album by British soul band Hot Chocolate. It was released in August 1976 on the RAK Records label, owned by Mickie Most, who was the band's producer. The album peaked at number thirty-two on the UK Albums Chart and one-hundred and seventy-two on the US Billboard 200 album chart.
"You Could've Been a Lady" is a song by the British soul band Hot Chocolate, written by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson. Written in 1969 and released as a single in 1971, it peaked at number 22 on the UK Singles Chart during a nine-week run.
Anthony Wilson is a Trinidadian vocalist, bass guitarist and songwriter, best known for his time with soul and funk band Hot Chocolate. He co-wrote the Hot Chocolate hits "Love Is Life", "Emma", "Brother Louie" and "You Sexy Thing".
"Every 1's a Winner" is the third single from the 1978 Hot Chocolate album of the same name. The single was released on 4 March 1978 on RAK Records in the UK and Infinity Records in the US. It peaked at #12 on the UK Singles Chart and #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100; it was the band's second-highest charting single in the US, behind "You Sexy Thing".