Hot Chocolate (band)

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Hot Chocolate
1998 hot chocolate cologne.jpg
Hot Chocolate in Cologne, 1998
Background information
Also known as Hot Chocolate Band
Origin West Hampstead, London, England[1]
Genres Funk, pop, disco, rhythm and blues[2]
Years active 1969–1986, 1992–present
Labels RAK, EMI, MCA, Apple
Associated acts Errol Brown
Website www.hot-chocolate.co.uk
Members Tony Connor
Harvey Hinsley
Patrick Olive
Steve Beast
Andy Smith
Kennie Simon
Past members Errol Brown
Larry Ferguson
Tony Wilson
Ian King

Hot Chocolate are a British funk band popular during the 1970s and 1980s, formed by Errol Brown. The act had at least one hit every year between 1970 and 1984 inclusive, and their song "You Sexy Thing" made the Top 10 in three decades.[3]

Beginnings[edit]

The band was originally named '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.[4] 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" (a U.S. 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", 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 the act.

Success[edit]

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 harmonies enabled them to secure further big hits such as "You Sexy Thing" and "Every 1's a Winner", which were also U.S. hits, peaking at #3 (1976) and #6 (1979), respectively. "Every 1's a Winner" featured a distinctive distorted guitar riff by Harvey Hinsley using a Roland GR-500. After Wilson's departure for a solo career, that included a 1976 album I Like Your Style, Brown assumed songwriting duties.

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 penned, at least partly, by Brown.[5] The track was a Russ Ballard composition.[5]

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).[5][6] The band eventually had at least one hit, every year, between 1970 and 1984.[3] Critically, they were often lambasted or simply ignored, and apart from compilations their albums such as Cicero Park sold modestly.

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.[3]

Later years[edit]

Its renewed appreciation can be credited in part to its appearances in a string of successful films starting with the 1997 comedy The Full Monty, and in a 1989 acne lotion commercial (featuring a young Patsy Palmer).[7] 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,[8] and Cud's cover of "You Sexy Thing" featured in John Peel's Festive 50.

When Hot Chocolate disbanded in 1986, Errol Brown 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.[9] 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 new line-up (new lead singer Greg Bannis), manager and agent, Ric Martin, took control over the band's bookings and live appearances. Kennie Simon took over lead vocals in 2010 and Hot Chocolate continue to make live appearances in the UK and Europe.[10]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • 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 (UK #24) (September 1982)
  • Love Shot (1983)
  • Strictly Dance (1993) (lead vocals: Greg Bannis)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • XIV Greatest Hits (UK #6) (November 1976)
  • 20 Hottest Hits (UK #3) (December 1979)
  • The Very Best of Hot Chocolate (UK #1) (February 1987)
  • Their Greatest Hits (UK #1) (March 1993)
  • The Most of Hot Chocolate (March 1996)
  • Greatest Hits Part Two (January 1999)
  • Best of the 70s (2000)
  • Brother Louie (2002)
  • The Essential Collection (2004)
  • A's B's & Rarities (2004)
  • Hottest Hits (2009) (promo CD given by The Daily Mail on Sunday January 25, 2009)[3][11]

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
[12]
NL
[13]
IRE
[14]
NZ
[15]
US
[16]
AU
1969 "Give Peace a Chance" (as Hot Chocolate Band) - - - - - -
1970 "Love Is Life" 6 - 13 - - -
1971 "You Could Have Been a Lady" 22 - - - - -
"I Believe (In Love)" 8 - - - - -
1972 "Mary-Anne" - - - - - -
"You'll Always Be a Friend" 23 - - - - -
1973 "Brother Louie" 7 - 19 - - 36
"Rumours" 44 - - - - -
1974 "Emma" 3 2 7 - 8 6
"Changing World" - - - - - -
"Cheri Babe" 31 10 - - - 68
1975 "Blue Night" - - - - - -
"Disco Queen" 11 - 16 - 28 -
"A Child's Prayer" 7 - 6 - - 92
"You Sexy Thing" 2 5 4 2 3 4
1976 "Don't Stop It Now" 11 - 12 - 42 -
"Man to Man" 14 - 17 - - -
"Heaven Is in the Back Seat of My Cadillac" 25 - 19 - - 32
1977 "So You Win Again" 1 5 2 8 31 12
"Put Your Love In Me" 10 20 19 - - 90
1978 "Every 1's a Winner" 12 10 11 7 6 12
"I'll Put You Together Again" 13 14 8 31 - 12
1979 "Mindless Boogie" 46 46 21 - - -
"Going Through the Motions" 53 49 - 33 53 -
1980 "No Doubt About It" 2 9 2 - - 56
"Are You Getting Enough of What Makes You Happy" 17 - 15 - 65 -
"Love Me to Sleep" 50 - - - - -
1981 "Gotta Give Up Your Love" - 42 - - - -
"You'll Never Be So Wrong" 52 15 - - - -
"I'm Losing You"/"Children of Spacemen" - - - - - -
1982 "Girl Crazy" 7 4 11 - - 9
"It Started with a Kiss" 5 7 5 2 - 15
"Chances" 32 - 8 - - 85
1983 "What Kinda Boy You're Lookin' For (Girl)" 10 17 4 - - -
"Tears on the Telephone" 37 18 22 - - -
"I'm Sorry" 89 - - - - -
1984 "I Gave You My Heart (Didn't I)" 13 - 12 - - -
1986 "Heartache No. 9" 76 - - - - -
1987 "You Sexy Thing (Ben Liebrand Remix)" 10 56 8 - - -
"Every 1's a Winner (Groove Mix)" 69 59 - - - -
"No Doubt About It (Remix)" - - - - - -
1988 "Heaven Is in the Backseat of My Cadillac (Remix)" - - - - - -
"Never Pretend" - - - - - -
1993 "It Started with a Kiss" (Re-issue) 31 - - - - -
1997 "You Sexy Thing (Ben Liebrand Remix)" (Re-issue) 6 - 19 - - -
1998 "It Started with a Kiss" (Second re-issue) 18 - - - - -

Band personnel[edit]

Current line-up[edit]

  • Harvey Hinsley - guitarist (1968–1986, 1992–present)
  • Patrick Olive - bass, percussion (1968–1986, 1992–present)
  • Tony Connor - drummer (1973–1986, 1992–present)
  • Steve "Beast" Ansell - keyboards, guitars (1992–present)
  • Andy Smith - keyboards (1992–present)
  • Kennie Simon - vocalist (2010–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Errol Brown - vocals (1968–1986)
  • Larry Ferguson - keyboards (1968–1986)
  • Franklyn De Allie - guitar (1968–1970)
  • Tony Wilson - bass (1968–1975)
  • Ian King - drums (1970–1973)
  • Greg Bannis - vocals (1992–2010)
  • Steve Matthews - keyboards, vocals (1992–1994)
  • Willy Dowling - keyboards, vocals (1992–1994)
Guest musicians
  • FiL Straughan - vocals (2000s)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ERROL BROWN: A Fondent Farewell". www.bluesandsoul.com. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Biography by Ron Wynn". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 259/260. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ "ERROL BROWN: A Fondent Farewell". Bluesandsoul.com. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  5. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2001). British Hit Singles (14th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 47. ISBN 0-85156-156-X. 
  6. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 184. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  7. ^ "Download | Clearasil Advert 1989 (Patsy Palmer) 1980s". Downloadablemovies.org. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Roberts, David (1998). Guinness Rockopedia (1st ed.). London: Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 196. ISBN 0-85112-072-5. 
  9. ^ "Hot Chocolate - Never Pretend (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  10. ^ "Home". Hot Chocolate. Retrieved 2013-04-07. 
  11. ^ "Hot Chocolate - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-04-07. 
  12. ^ "Hot Chocolate | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  13. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discografie Hot Chocolate". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  14. ^ "Search Hot Chocolate". Irish Charts-all there is to know. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discography Hot Chocolate". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  16. ^ "Hot Chocolate". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved on 2011-10-19. Note: User needs to enter "Hot Chocolate" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history.
  18. ^ a b "Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2011-12-30.  Note: User must define 'Artist' search parameter as "Hot Chocolate".

External links[edit]