Hot Chocolate

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69) as The Hot Chocolate Band

- Errol Brown -- vocals

- Franklyn De Allie -- lead guitar

- Jim King -- drums, percussion

- Patrick Olive -- drums, percussion

- Tony Wilson -- vocals, bass


  line up 2 (1969-70) as The Hot Chocolate

- Errol Brown -- vocals

- Franklyn De Allie -- lead guitar

- Ian King -- drums, percussion

- Patrick Olive -- drums, percussion

- Tony Wilson -- vocals, bass


  line up 3 (1970-75) 

- Errol Brown -- vocals

NEW - Tony Connor -- drums, percussion (replaced Jim King)

- Larry Ferguson -- keyboards

NEW - Harvey Hinsley -- lead guitar (replaced Franklyn De Allie)

- Tony Wilson -- vocals, bass


  line up 4 (1975) 

- Errol Brown -- vocals

- Tony Connor -- drums, percussion

- Larry Ferguson -- keyboards

- Harvey Hinsley -- lead guitar

NEW - Brian Satterwhite -- vocals, bass (replaced Tony Wilson)


  line up 5 (1975-86) 

- Errol Brown -- vocals

- Tony Connor -- drums, percussion 

- Larry Ferguson -- keyboards

- Harvey Hinsley -- lead guitar

NEW - Patrick Olive -- bass, percussion (replaced 

  Brian Satterwhite)


  line up 6 (1992-2010)

NEW - Steve Ansell -- keyboards (replaced Larry Ferguson)

NEW - Greg Bannis -- vocals (replaced Errol Brown)

- Tony Connor -- drums, percussion

- Harvey Hinsley -- lead guitar

- Patrick Olive --vocals,  bass, percussion 

NEW - Andy Smith -- keyboards


  line up 7 (2010)

- Steve Ansell -- keyboards

- Tony Connor -- drums, percussion

- Harvey Hinsley -- lead guitar

- Patrick Olive -- vocals, bass, percussion

NEW - Kennie Simon -- lead vocals, keyboards (replaced 

  Greg Bannis)

- Andy Smith -- keyboards





Audience (Tony Connor)

- Errol Brown (solo efforts)

- The Hot Chocolate Band

- Tony Wilson (solo efforts





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Cicero Park

Company: Big Park

Catalog: BT 89503

Country/State: Brighton, London UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: c

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1235

Price: $10.00


Hot Chocolate has a special place in my heart in that they're the first band I ever heard on Radio Caroline. 40 years later  I can still remember lying in bed hearing 'Emma' though a small portable radio with a cheap earpiece   


By the time their debut album 1974's "Cicero Park" was released, Hot Chocolate were longstanding musical veterans having recorded five singles since their 1969 debut as The Hot Chocolate Band.   Produced by Mickie Most, the main draw here was lead singer Errol Brown.  Say what you will about the band's mix of pop, funk, and soul moves, but Errol Brown had one of those voices that was instantly attention grabbing.  To my ears these guys were clearly a soul band, but there was something different and endearing about their sound.   Asides from their accents, the combination of their British accents and their off mixture of British and Caribbean roots gave their take on American soul a different edge.  After all these years I'm still hard pressed to explain, or define it, but there was just something very different about their sound and outlook.  One spin and knew these guys weren't American.  With Brown and singer/bassist Tony Wilson responsible for all ten tracks, the album found the band touching on all of the era's then-popular musical trends including pop, funk, and, soul.   Admittedly there wasn't anything particularly original in these grooves, but exemplified by tracks like 'Could Have Been Born In The Ghetto', the single 'Emma', and 'Brother Louie' when they were hitting on all cylinders, there guys were stunning.


"Cicero Park" track listing:
(side 1)

1.)  Cicero Park  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

Funny but the title track has always reminded me of a British version of the Norman Whitfield-era Temptations.   Guess it had something to with the combination of Brown's serious-as-a-heart-attack vocals, the slightly ominous, post-apocalyptic lyrics, and dollops of Harvey Hinsley's thick fuzz guitar.  rating: *** stars

2.)  Could Have Been Born In The Ghetto (Theme from Love Head)   (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

With it's funeral march pacing and socially conscious lyric, 'Could Have Been Born In The Ghetto' was another track that bore more than a passing resemblance to early-'70s Temptations, or perhaps "Superfly" era Curtis Mayfield.   rating: **** stars.    

3.)  A Love Like Yours  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

Country tinged number that seemed like it wasn't going anywhere until the bubbly backing chorus hit.  I think Tony Wilson handles the lead vocals on this one.   rating: *** stars

4.)  You're A Natural High  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

With a distinctive Caribbean edge, 'You're A Natural High' could have been a great tune, but heavy orchestration basically drown the tune.   rating: ** stars

5.)  Emma  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

Seriously dark and disturbing and still mesmerizing after all these years.  The combination of Brown's deadpan voice, Wilson's rumbling bass, the Emma, Emma-Emmeline hook, and Harvey Hinsley's skitterish guitar riff made this one unforgettable.   YouTube has a British television performance of the song at:   rating: **** stars


(side 2)

1.) Changing World  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

Showcasing Larry Ferguson's keyboards, 'Changing World' was the album's prettiest tune and probably should have been tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

2). Disco Queen  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

In spite of the title, the horn powered 'Disco Queen' was actually one of the album's hard rocking tunes.  In spite of the brief  Tony Connor drum solo, the track was very commercial, though it wasn't one of the album highlights.  rating: *** stars

3.) Makin' Music  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

True Tony Wilson co-wrote all ten tracks, but he was also responsible for the molten, burping bass throughout the album and that sound was prominent on 'Makin' Music'.    Funky, but ina subtle way and that bass was simply amazing.   rating: **** stars

4.) Funky Rock N Roll  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

Another misstep, 'Funky Rock N Roll' has always sounded like Brown and company were trying to channel Marc Bolan and company on this one.   There was just something slightly off-putting in the way Brown tried to sound tough and the let's-show-our-instrumental-prowess segment sounded old.  rating: ** stars

5.) Brother Louie  (Errol Brown - Tony Wilson) - 

'Brother Louie' had previously seen daylight as a 1973 single. With a lyric that dealt with inter-racial romance, this was the album's standout performance; certainly the most controversial since the original version was highly un-PC. (Blues master Alexis Korner provided the father's spoken word segment.)  There's no way it would ever get on commercial radio today.  Shame The Stories got the number 1 American hit with their cover version.  rating: **** stars


The three US singles were:



- 1973's 'Brother Louie' b/w 'I Want To Be Free' (RAK catalog number ZS7 4515)

- 1974's 'Emma' b/w 'A Love Like Yours' (Big Tree catalog number BT-16031)  # 8 pop

- 1975's 'Disco Queen' b/w 'Makin' Music' (Big Tree catalog number BT 16038) # 26 pop


For anyone interested both the current band and Errol Brown have web presences: