Monday, March 02, 2009

New Music Monday-Hot Chocolate

I thought it was appropriate considering all the damn snow we've gotten lately!

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. Much to Brown's surprise, 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 label, owned by Most. Brown and bassist Tony Wilson wrote most of their original material, and also provided hits for other artist's. Gradually the five piece, London based, outfit started to become UK Singles chart regulars. "Brother Louie", which featured a guest spoken vocal from Alexis Korner, and "Emma", were even more successful as singles, and introduced their distinctive sound.

It was in the 70's disco era, that Hot Chocolate became a big success. A combination of high production standards, the growing confidence of the main writing 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 major U.S. hits, peaking at #3 and #6, respectively. After Wilson's departure for a solo career that included a well received album in 1976 I Like Your Style, Brown assumed all songwriting duties.

In 1977, after scoring 15 previous hits, they finally reached #1 with "So You Win Again". Oddly, 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 UK chart acts, that scored a hit in every year of the 1970s. Considering the other two acts to do so were Elvis Presely and Diana Ross, that achievement put Hot Chocolate in very elevated company. The band eventually had at least one hit, every single year, between 1970 and 1984. Critically, they were often lambasted or simply ignored, and apart from compliations their albums such as Cicero Park sold modestly. But their string of successes points to the indisputable fact that they were well-loved and cherished.
Whilst their longevity had its highs and lows, 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.

Their epic - "You Sexy Thing" - seemed to have a life of its own. It appeared in various guises to become the only track that made British Top 10 status in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. They enjoyed an resurgence of credibility:
Urge Overkill, PJ Harvey and The Sisters of Mercy all added Hot Chocolate songs to their live sets. "You Sexy Thing"'s renewed appreciation can be perhaps credited in part to its appearances in a string of successful films starting with 1997's male stripper comedy The Full Monty. "You Sexy Thing" has also been heard in other films including Boogie Nights, Bicentennial Man, Rat Race, and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Another U.S. resurgence in 1999 can be credited to a Burger King commercial in which "You Sexy Thing" played while the camera closely examines a Double Whopper.

Hot Chocolate- "Every 1's A Winner"

Song lyrics | Every One's A Winner lyrics
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