live ’n’ loud: Smooth sounds of Hot Chocolate ...................
TWENTY years have passed since Hot Chocolate stirred up some sweet controversy with an original tune, but the British band still know how to quench their audience’s desire for sexy, timeless grooves.
Remembered for their danceable hits You Sexy Thing, It Started With A Kiss and Every 1’s a Winner, the now six-piece band made a name for themselves in the 1970s for mixing funk, pop, disco, R’n’B with a dash of controversy.
While the band are up to their ‘‘third and final’’ singer Kennie Simon – original frontman Errol Brown left the band in 1986 to spend more time with his family – founding member Patrick Olive says Hot Chocolate’s intention remains the same.
‘‘We just want to get people up singing and dancing – our objective is to make people happy,’’ he says.
‘‘We will be playing all the hits and all the sounds that make you want to woop and holler.’’
In 1969, the band did a reggae cover of John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance, and by changing the lyrics they had to seek permission from Lennon’s agent.
Lennon loved the version and subsequently the band were momentarily signed to The Beatles’ label.
Hot Chocolate enjoyed at least one hit a year between 1970 and 1984. In 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana invited the group to a pre-wedding reception at Buckingham Palace.
The band’s last album was the ninth recorded in the studio – 1993’s Strictly Dance.
Olive says the band are happy to keep rotating the same songs that made them famous all those years ago.
‘‘It’s like eating your favourite dish or driving your favourite car – you never get tired of it,’’ he says.
A fan of artists One Direction and Pink, Olive says the raunchy Miley Cyrus and Rihanna are responsible for the stigma attached to sexual music.
‘‘They are sexualising music too much. Outrageous is fun, but what they are doing is pornographic,’’ he says.
‘‘Men don’t want to see ladies doing that. We want them to do sexy like Kylie Minogue in a dignified way – no grinding.
‘‘You can dance without having to go to that level. Men don’t get excited by things like that.’’
In their heyday, Hot Chocolate enjoyed the taste of controversy caused by their ‘‘cheeky’’ music and behaviour.
‘‘We got people doing all sorts of outrageous things,’’ he laughs, refusing to give details of fans ‘‘naughty’’ antics.
‘‘We were singing about sexy things and telling girls they were sexy, which was politically incorrect then.
‘‘You could put it in a song but if you walked up to a girl in a street and said it, you would get arrested. Those were cheeky and controversial days but we got away with it.’’
– ROSE SADLEIR
Hot Chocolate play Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, on Sunday.