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The Hot Chocolate Band - Give Peace A Chance

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Uploaded on Oct 10, 2009

Release: Single B-Side: Living Without Tomorrow

Release Date: 10/10/1969

Catalogue No. 18

Hot Chocolate was an English pop band of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s formed by Errol Brown. The band were chart regulars throughout the 1970s and 1980s.[1] The act has at least one hit every year between 1970 and 1984 and "You Sexy Thing" made the Top 10 in three decades.[1] With their seductive lead singer Errol Brown, Hot Chocolate became as entwined with 1970s pop culture as Star Wars.[2]

Career

They were originally named 'The Hot Chocolate Band' by Mavis Smith, who worked for the Apple Corps press office. This was quickly shortened to Hot Chocolate by Mickie Most.[2]

Hot Chocolate started their recording career making a reggae version of John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance", but Brown was told he needed permission. Much to Brown's surprise, he was contacted by Apple Records, discovered that John Lennon liked his version, and the group was subsequently signed to Apple Records.[3] The link was short-lived as The Beatles were starting to break up, and the Apple connection soon ended.

All This And World War II

Lennon's Input?

In researching the film, one of the biggest surprises was that John Lennon himself was not only aware of the film, but might have had some input in its making. Sure, he was involved directly since Elton John's version of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" was included in the film. Lennon had played guitar on Elton John's version of the song, which reached #1 in January of 1975.

Tony Palmer remembers that he "discussed most of the sequences with him at length" and that "Lennon got involved because he was a friend." Unfortunately, Palmer didn't elaborate on Lennon's influence on the film. But, Tony Bramwell collaborates Palmer's story, adding that Palmer "dropped it off to see what he [Lennon] could do." With Lennon's sense of humor, it is not a total surprise that he "liked the movie" as Russ Regan remembered.

So, the film not only had an actual Beatle performing on the soundtrack (albeit a guest spot on the Elton John single), but also might have had some input in the actual sequencing. And then there is the inclusion of the Hot Chocolate Band's "Give Peace a Chance" during the closing credits. We'll explore Lennon's support for this song later a little later in this article.

The Mystery Song?

After watching the film, one of the mysteries was the identity of the artist that performed the last song on the film. A cover of "Give Peace a Chance" ends the film as the credits are rolling, but the song itself is not listed in the credits and the song didn't make it to the soundtrack. I searched the internet for reggae cover versions of the song, finding that Toots & The Maytals had done a version of "Give Peace A Chance" on their MONKEY MAN album in 1970. However, upon hearing their version, it was obviously not the same artist in the film. Finally, this mystery was solved during an interview with Tony Bramwell in which he informed me that the mystery band was none other than Hot Chocolate! Back in 1969, the Hot Chocolate Band (as they were originally called) sent Apple records a reggae version of "Give Peace A Chance". John Lennon loved it and the song saw release as a 45rpm on Apple Records on October 10, 1969 (Apple 18 - "Give Peace A Chance"/ "Living Without Tomorrow"). The band shorted their name to 'Hot Chocolate' and is best known by their 1975 hit "You Sexy Thing".

But why was this song included in the film, but not the soundtrack? Russ Regan said that the song didn't appear on the soundtrack because it was an "afterthought". Did Lennon influence in inclusion of this song? Since he was instrumental in getting the song released on Apple Records back in 1969, maybe this was a Lennon suggestion given to Tony Palmer when they discussed the film.

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