As we celebrate diversity in music, it’s only right that black musicians are championed more than ever before, and yet Errol Brown – legendary frontman of Hot Chocolate – tends to be overlooked in the pantheon of British songwriters. Here, with insight from guitarist Harvey Hinsley, we celebrate his talents by ranking the 20 best Hot Chocolate songs, showcasing why Errol Brown’s band deserves a place among the greats.
20: Mindless Boogie (1979)
Pre-dating the angular funky lurch of David Bowie’s Fashion by a year, Mindless Boogie is a surprisingly cynical disco-inspired cut in which Errol Brown references the Jonestown massacre (a mass suicide event instigated by a murderous cult leader in 1978) and the towering threat of the neutron bomb. “Like clowns and robots that we are,” Errol sings to empty-headed partygoers as if they are dancing in the middle of an apocalypse, “Music is the drug we’re searching for.”
Perhaps due to its sardonic dig at the disco scene, Mindless Boogie only managed to hit No.46 in the UK chart. “It had its limitations,” Hot Chocolate guitarist Harvey Hinsley tells Dig!, speaking about his squalling guitarwork. “I mean, it was all in one chord. So it was a bit limiting to play to.” Nevertheless, it makes for a strangely compelling entry among Hot Chocolate’s best songs.