Singer Errol Brown Dies At 71
Hot Chocolate front man Errol Brown had liver cancer and died at his home in the Bahamas, said his manager Phil Dale. Hot Chocolate had hits in more than 50 countries worldwide, including You Sexy Thing – which Brown co-wrote – It Started with a Kiss and Every 1’s a Winner.
In 1969 while demoing a slight reggae version of the John Lennon song [Give Peace A Chance] with a group of friends, Errol Brown changed the lyrics of the number but he was informed that he could not change Lennon’s song without his permission! So a copy of the demo was sent to the Beatles record label, Apple with fingers crossed. Amazingly John Lennon loved the version and it was released on the’Apple label. Errol and his friends were given the name, The Hot Chocolate Band … a name thought up by a secretary at the company but which the band later changed to ‘Hot Chocolate’.
Towards the end of 1969 Mickie Most signed Errol and the cofounder of the group, Tony Wilson as writers and recorded their songs with Mary Hopkins, Julie Felix and Herman’s Hermits before encouraging them to come up with a song for themselves.
In 1970 Hot Chocolate, with Errol Brown as lead singer, released their first record entitled, [Love is Life] which reached number 6 in the charts. This was the start of a fifteen year career for the group who amassed a total of over 30 hits and also became the only group in the UK to have a hit for fifteen consecutive years. Brown’s bald headed charismatic image and unique voice being the central focus of the group along with a great song writing talent that saw him pen such pop classics as [It Started With a Kiss] , [You Sexy Thing] and [Everyone’s a Winner].
In 1981 Hot Chocolate had the honour of being invited by Prince Charles and Lady Diana at their pre-wedding reception at Buckingham Palace which was attended by Heads of Government and many members of European Royalty.
In 1985 Errol left the band and took time out to spend more time with his wife and then young children, resurfacing in 1990 and 1993 to embark on successful solo tours of the UK. He helped with the promotion of the classic [You Sexy Thing] which is a major part of the movie The Full Monty released by EMI Records in 1997.
The [Hot Chocolate Greatest Hits] compilation was released in October 1997 reached number 10 in the album charts the next month. Errol also performed live on Top Of The Pops as the single reached number 6 position.
Errol hit the charts again in February 1998 when EMI released the single [It Started With a Kiss] and appeared on TOTP again. Errol completed a sell out 58 date UK tour, which included an outstanding performance at the London Palladium in May.
In July 1998 Errol embarked on an extensive promotion tour of concerts, television, radio and media appearances throughout Germany having topped the bill at The Frankfurt Festival where he played to an audience of over 300,000. Then In 1999 Errol embarked on a very successful tour across the UK completing 69 concerts.
In The Queen’s birthday honours list of June 2003 Errol was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his services to popular music. The investiture took place on Nov 27th 2003.On a personal note, Errol would like to say how very proud and moved he was to be honoured with an MBE.
In 2004 received the Ivor Novello award, Britain’s most prestigious music award, for outstanding contribution to British music.