This highly commercial UK pop act was formed in Brixton, London, by percussionist Patrick Olive, guitarist Franklyn De Allie and drummer Ian King.
Jamaican-born songwriter/vocalist Errol Brown and bass player Tony Wilson (from Trinidad and Tobago) and pianist Larry Ferguson (from Nassau in the Bahamas) joined later in 1969.
Following the departure of De Allie the band was signed to The Beatles‘ Apple label for an enterprising reggae version of the Plastic Ono Band’s Give Peace A Chance. They also provided label-mate Mary Hopkin with the hit Think About Your Children.
In September 1970, the band enjoyed the first hit in their own right with the melodic Love Is Life.
Over the next year, they brought in former Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers guitarist Harvey Hinsley and replacement drummer Tony Connor to bolster the line-up.
The Brown-Wilson songwriting team enabled Hot Chocolate to enjoy a formidable run of UK Top 10 hits including I Believe (In Love), Brother Louie (a US number 1 for Stories), Emma, A Child’s Prayer, You Sexy Thing, Put Your Love In Me, No Doubt About It, Girl Crazy, It Started With A Kiss and What Kinda Boy You Looking For (Girl)?.
In the summer of 1977, they scored a #1 UK hit with the Russ Ballard song So You Win Again.
The departure of their shaven-headed vocalist and songwriter Errol Brown in 1987 was a difficult hurdle to overcome and it came as little surprise when Hot Chocolate’s break-up was announced. Brown went on to register a hit with Personal Touch and completed two albums.
You Sexy Thing enjoyed a revival in 1998 when it was prominently used in the hit film The Full Monty (1997). Brown’s solo album followed in 2001.
Franklyn De Allie