Their Greatest Hits

by: Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate may never be included on the roster of heavy-hitting funk bands, but they were certainly a valuable part of the U.K.'s contribution to the genre. Able to bounce around and blend styles which ranged from funk-lite to pure pop and disco, Hot Chocolate gave the U.K. and then the States a string of chart hits and club favorites throughout the 1970s and into the '80s. Hot Chocolate's reign in England began in 1969 with their cover of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance," and continued on with some of the early '70s most stylish soul/funk compositions. However, they didn't register in the U.S. until 1974's "Emma" gave them their first Stateside hit. Heavy on post-1975 material, this compilation is a nice summary of the band's U.S. career, but doesn't pay sufficient tribute to the truly great band they were beforehand. From the pure pop-funk of "You Sexy Thing," which gave the band their first Top Five pop hit in the U.S., and early favorites "So You Win Again" and the gospel-tinged ballad "I'll Put You Together Again," to the latter day classic "Are You Getting Enough Happiness," Every 1's A Winner doesn't miss a beat. Where the disc is better, then, is across the excellent pre-1975 tracks. The sinisterly impassioned and politically charged "Brother Louie" is probably one of the best songs the band recorded. Also of note is 1970's outstanding "Love Is Life," one of several songs which authors Errol Brown and Tony Wilson originally envisioned giving to Herman's Hermits. Using this compilation as a yardstick, Hot Chocolate would seem to defy any real categorization, a portrait which is grossly unfair. Anybody searching for a true representation, then, would be better served seeking out a European collection, where the emphasis is on the entire career. ~ Amy Hanson

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