Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the Menu: Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is one of those rare groups who transcended not only race but musical styles.  The band blended the styles of R & B, rock and disco in their songs.  Hot Chocolate featured good harmonies and amazingly tight production, thanks to producer Mickie Most.  They were hugely popular in Europe, more so than in America.

The band formed in Brixton, London.  Founding members were percussionist Patrick Olive, Franklyn De Allie on guitar and drummer Ian King.  Singer/songwriter Errol Brown, bassist Tony Wilson and pianist Larry Ferguson joined in 1969.
They scored big hits on the other side of the pond with "Love is Live", "Emma", "You Could Have Been a Lady" and "I Believe in Love"; only "Emma was big in the States.  Brown and bassist Wilson wrote most of their material.  Hot Chocolate also did their version of "Brother Louie", but it was the Stories that enjoyed the biggest hit. 

After Wilson left for a solo career, the group scored their biggest hits with "You Sexy Thing" and "Every 1's a Winner".  Hot Chocolate was one of only three acts (Elvis Presley and Diana Ross are the others) to enjoy a hit in every year of the 70's on the U.K. chart.  The group charted 25 hits in the U.K., compared to the three big hits ("Emma", "You Sexy Thing" and "Every 1's a Winner") in the U.S.

Hot Chocolate played at Buckingham Palace for the Royal Wedding Party of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

Hot Chocolate lineup:
Errol Brown, vocals
Tony Connor, drums
Larry Ferguson, keyboards
Harvey Hinsley, guitar
Tony Wilson, bass guitar through 1975
Brian Satterwhite, vocalist, bassist since 1973
Tony Olive, percussion, took over bass in 1975
Ian King, drums (1970-1973)

Hot Chocolate split in 1986, but with a new lineup in 1992, the band is again making live appearances throughout Europe.

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