Thursday, 11 July 2013

Hot Chocolate 'You Sexy Thing'

Chart Peak: 10 [original version 2 in 1975]

Originally made No. 2 for 3 weeks in late 1975. This new mix charted at No. 56 on 13th January 1987. It had reached No. 10 by 10th February and is the group's 23rd British Top 30 single.
By 1986, DJ and producer Ben Liebrand had already made his lasting mark on music history by producing the pioneering classic that is 'Holiday Rap' by MC Miker G and Deejay Sven, possibly the first act ever to swear on Top Of The Pops. Presumably because he couldn't top this glory, he seems to have spent the rest of the decade trying to remix every record made in the 1970s, from Jeff Wayne's 'Eve Of The War' to the Four Seasons' 'December 63' to Bill Withers' 'Lovely Day' and Ram Jam's version of 'Black Betty'. This is one of his more commercially successful efforts in the UK, issued to promote a hits compilation by the now-defunct act; Errol Brown had already departed for a solo career by this point, although a version of the group continues to tour without him. They're supporting Status Quo this December.

'You Sexy Thing' is a song I've always felt ambivalent and slightly squeamish about. The greatest strength of the original is the skill with which it's arranged and produced (by the late Mickie Most, not somebody you'd necessarily expect to have been a natural at soul or proto-disco). There's a nice steady tempo, a luxurious string arrangement and an interesting effect where the congas seem to be merged with a rhythm guitar part. Unfortunately all these elements are either removed or buried in the remix, which substitutes a stolid drum-machine beat and a repeated ostinato on farty synthesiser. It's not even technically all that good, with the original track seemingly shoehorned in the mix as if he didn't have access to individual parts. All that's left is Errol Brown apparently inventing the word "sextacy" which we could have done without, really. If it had been 'It Started With A Kiss' I'd have been more positive.

Also appearing on: Now 2, 38 [this track]
Available on: The Rest Of The Best Of Hot Chocolate

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