Hot Chocolate lead singer Errol Brown dies of cancer, aged 71

Errol Brown, whose funky numbers with Hot Chocolate — such as You Sexy Thing — became sensations in the disco era, has died of liver cancer at 71.

Jamaican-born Brown, who spent most of his life in Britain where he was given a knighthood for his cultural contributions, died at his home in the Bahamas, his manager Phil Dale said.

Mr Dale called Brown “a wonderful gentleman” who was constantly writing new songs.

“There was always music wherever he was,” he said.

Brown received a knighthood for his contribution to music in 2003. Image via ABC.

Brown became a pop star almost by accident after he and friend Tony Wilson, a songwriter who became the co-founder of Hot Chocolate, decided in the late 1960s to make reggae versions of hits of the day.


A reggae version of Give Peace a Chance made its way to the Beatles' Apple Records, which objected and said the band needed permission.

However, Brown later said John Lennon himself soon heard the reggae cover and helped the band sign to Apple Records, although Hot Chocolate soon moved to another label as the Beatles were splitting up.

Brown told Britain's Telegraph newspaper in a 2009 interview "I never grew up wanting to be a pop star; I never grew up interested in performing music at all".

Watch Hot Chocolate's hit 'You Sexy Thing' below. Post continues after video. 

Hot Chocolate became a rare black British act to achieve commercial success in the 1970s, and the band's danceable numbers enjoyed a spike in popularity as disco came into vogue.

The band put out hits each year through the mid-1980s, including You Sexy Thing, Love is Life and Brother Louie.

Brown went solo in 1985 and achieved modest success with songs such as Personal Touch, although he never achieved the same fame as with Hot Chocolate.

Despite winning sex symbol status with his on-stage persona and often suggestive lyrics, Brown was said to be uninterested in the rock-and-roll lifestyle and was married for about 35 years to his wife Ginette, who survives him along with two daughters.

This post originally appeared on the ABC and was republished here with full permission.

What's you favourite Hot Chocolate song? Let us know in the comments.