Sunday, December 02, 2018

Weekend Diversion: Hot Chocolate

Recently, Roger Green shared Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” as part of his Music Throwback series of posts. He’d heard the song used in a commercial and, he said, “it was really bugging me since I knew the song but could not remember the artist.” This was a song (and a group) I was well aware of, but for very different reasons than Roger's.

“You Sexy Thing” (live performance video above) did very well in its original release. It hit Number four in Australia, 7 in Canada, 2 in New Zealand, 2 in the UK (Silver), and, in the USA, 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 2 on the Cash Box Top 100, and went Gold. The song charted again in two subsequent re-releases in 1987 (when it hit Number 2 in New Zealand) and also in 1997, largely on the back of the movie, The Full Monty. It’s the only song to enter the UK top ten in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

All of that came well after I first heard the song. That came from the 1993 TV series, Tales of the City, based on the novel series by Armistead Maupin, which began with a 1978 novel of the same name. The song was used in the series, and in the PBS promos for the series. It was a perfect choice and thoroughly resonated with me. Even now, when I hear the song I think of that series.

When I moved to New Zealand, I found that the group had been popular here, and had several popular songs, ones I only learned after I was here. Two in particular were played on the radio from time to time.

“Every 1’s A Winner” was released 4 March 1978, and hit Number 12 in Australia, 7 in New Zealand, 12 in the UK, and 6 in the USA (Gold). It actually reminded me a bit of “You Sexy Thing”.

1982’s “It started with a kiss” hit Number 15 in Australia, 2 in New Zealand, 5 in the UK (Silver), but didn’t chart in the USA. This one was played on the radio more often than the other two—or, maybe it was just coincidence, and played when I happened to be listening.

There were a lot more Hot Chocolate songs, of course, and some of them I’ve heard since moving to New Zealand. I was never exactly a fan—they were always one of those groups who made some songs I liked, even as I was indifferent about others. But “You Sexy Thing” will always have a special place in my imaginary playlist.

And I was reminded of all of that because of Roger’s post. It’s nice to remember things.


rogerogreen said...

I do recognize Winner, though not by title.

Arthur Schenck said...

I always used to misspell it, which isn't a surprise, really.