Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Hot Chocolate

You Could Have Been a Lady

First recorded by Hot Chocolate (UK #22 1971).
Album hit version by April Wine (US #32/CAN #2 1972).

From the wiki: “The band was originally named ‘Hot Chocolate Band’ by Mavis Smith, who worked for the Apple Corps press office. This was quickly shortened to Hot Chocolate by Mickie Most. The group started their recording career making a Reggae version of John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ (see below); told that he needed permission before releasing the song, band founder Errol Brown contacted Apple Records, discovered that John Lennon liked his version, and the group was subsequently signed to Apple Records. The link, however, was short-lived as The Beatles were starting to break up, and the Apple connection soon ended.

“Undeterred, Hot Chocolate began releasing tracks that became hits, such as ‘Love Is Life’ (UK #6 1970), ‘You Could Have Been a Lady’ (UK #22 1971) and ‘Brother Louie‘ (1973). ‘You Could Have Been a Lady’ would later be covered in 1972 by Canadian rock band April Wine, who would score with it the most successful Canadian single of their group career.”

Just When I Needed You Most

Co-written and first released by Tony Wilson (1979).
Hit version by Randy Vanwarmer (US #4/C&W #71/UK #8 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Just When I Need You Most’ was written by Randy Vanwarmer and Tony Wilson (of Hot Chocolate, ‘Brother Louie‘) in 1977. It first appeared on Wilson’s Catch One album, released three records before his label mate Randy Vanwarmer’s hit version (Tony’s: Bearsville BRK 6985; Randy’s: Bearsville BRK 6988). On the Tony Wilson album, Vanwarmer and Wilson are listed as co-writers; on Randy Vanwarmer’s Warmer album there is no mention of Wilson as co-writer.”

Brother Louie

Written and originally recorded by Hot Chocolate (UK #7 1973).
Other hit version by Stories (US #1 1973).
Also recorded by Roy Ayers (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Brother Louie’ is a song about an interracial love affair, written and sung by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson of the group Hot Chocolate (‘You Sexy Thing’). It was a Top 10 hit on the UK Singles Chart for the band in 1973, produced by Mickie Most (The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, The Jeff Beck Group), and featured Alexis Korner with a spoken-word lyric. The song was covered by the American band Stories (featuring singer Ian Lloyd) about six months after Hot Chocolate’s UK hit. Another cover was released in 1973 by Roy Ayers on his album Virgo Red, playing vibes instead of singing.”

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