Another good thing Leo Sayer did was write this song. Think that’s about it though.
Gilbert O’Sullivan did some naff things (like dressing in that outfit) but this is a beautiful song. I think Morrissey should cover it.
People still dress like that up North, right?
One of the best things about the pop charts in the 1970s is that records like this which owe more to Jazz and Edith Piaf could become hits, as this did in 1977 when it got to #1. Most of the “novelty” hits that decade were terrible but this was classier than most and I still have a soft spot for it. Surprised to see them on Whistle Test though.
I had a little crush on their lead singer at the time and she does look rather sexy here.
The real pleasure in this clip isn’t Dave Edmunds (who looks half-asleep or stoned) but the audience, especially the odd fellow at the back who I assume must be the host of the show.
I don’t think I’ve seen this ad since it was on the telly in 1976 but I could still remember every word of it — especially “Come back, Chuck” which became a playground catchphrase for a while. That says something about how brilliant it was.
Richard Jobson’s dancing makes me think of him as the Elaine Benes of Post-Punk.
I once saw Errol Brown coming out of the Gents in a trendy Soho bar in the late 1980s and, while thinking he was shorter than I’d imagined, I just gave him a very cool smile as he walked past me while inside I was all “FUCKING HELL, IT’S ERROL BROWN!” because here was the man behind so many beloved pop hits of my youth — which is why his death upset me more than I imagined it would. While they were only modestly successful elsewhere, Hot Chocolate were a pop institution in the UK, having at least one hit every year between 1970 and 1984. With his distinctive bald head, Brown was as familiar a face on Top of The Pops as the DJs, one of the few regular black singers on the show who wasn’t American.
Hot Chocolate were a difficult band to pin down. Their records contained elements of soul, pop, glam, funk, dub, and psychedelia — sometimes all at once thanks to the production magic of Mickie Most. What linked some of them together however was a surprising bleakness, singles like “Emma” and “Brother Louie” are pretty grim for pop hits your mum probably liked, and even a love song like “Put Your Love In Me” has an edge of dark desperation about it.
They were such a singles band they didn’t release their debut album Cicero Park until several years into their hit-making career in 1974, and shockingly it was a flop despite containing the hit “Emma” and being a terrific album in it’s own right. The title track in particular is a fabulous piece of moody Blaxploitation soul-funk. If Curtis Mayfield had made this record it would hailed as a classic.
Download: Cicero Park – Hot Chocolate (mp3)
Yes, it’s a cute kid video. I’ll be posting pictures of kittens next week.