Errol Brown: 5 facts you didn't know about Hot Chocolate star

You Sexy Thing singer was a proud Conservative and raised money for children through golf events

Hot Chocolate singer Errol Brown
(Image credit: Getty)

Hot Chocolate frontman Errol Brown has died from liver cancer at the age of 71. Born in Jamaica in 1943, Lester Errol Brown moved to London with his mother at the age of 11. Ten years later, John Lennon gave him his first big career break and he became a regular on Top of the Pops with hits such as You Sexy Thing, It Started With a Kiss and Everyone's a Winner. In 2003, he was awarded an MBE and, a year later, won an Ivor Novello Award for outstanding contribution to British music. Here are five things you might not know about the singer:

A secretary named Hot Chocolate

Brown's career started with a reggae cover of John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance. He and Trinidad-born musician Tony Wilson sent their cover to the Beatles' label, Apple Records, and Lennon signed the pair virtually on the spot. It was an Apple secretary who came up with the name The Hot Chocolate Band. This was later reduced to Hot Chocolate by producer Mickie Most, who helped the group deliver a succession of hits.

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He was a Tory

"In the early 80s, Brown also became known as that rare thing: a pop musician who was publicly and proudly Tory," says The Guardian. He even appeared at a Conservative party conference during the Margaret Thatcher years to sing a rendition of John Lennon's Imagine. Brown, who grew up in West Hampstead and attended private school, described himself as a "teenage yuppy".

Charles and Diana were fans

Hot Chocolate played at Prince Charles and Princess Diana's pre-wedding reception at Buckingham Palace in July 1981. Brown said it was "amazing" to stand on stage and look out at all the "glistening tiaras and all the heads of governments from across the world". Speaking to Blues and Soul magazine, he recalled meeting Diana and "thinking what a tall and pretty lady she was".

He loved golf

Brown was a keen golfer and was once a member of Loch Lomond Golf Club. He continued to play when he and his family moved to the Bahamas. According to Bahamas Weekly, he raised more than $500,000 for children in need across the islands by organising charity golf tournaments. The singer also owned racing horses, most famously Gainsay, and enjoyed playing bridge.

You Sexy Thing began as a B-side

Hot Chocolate's best known anthem was You Sexy Thing – but the song was originally intended to be a B-side for another single called Blue Night. Producer Mickie Most remixed it several months later and it became a hit in 1975, reaching number two in the British charts and number three in the US. Brown's career received another major boost in 1997 when the track featured in The Full Monty, starring Robert Carlyle. It became one of the only songs to reach the Top Ten in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

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