Errol Brown

12 Nov 1943
6 May 2015
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Lester Errol Brown MBE (12 November 1943 – 6 May 2015) was a British-Jamaican singer and songwriter, best known as the frontman of the soul and funk band Hot Chocolate. Their hits included “You Sexy Thing”, “Emma”, “So You Win Again” and “Brother Louie”.

Brown was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to the UK when he was twelve years old. His break in music came in 1969 when he recorded a version of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” with some friends. Unable to change the lyrics without Lennon’s permission, he sent a copy to his record label, Apple, and the song was released with Lennon’s approval.

The Hot Chocolate albums were produced by Mickie Most and recorded at the Rak Records studio. Brown left the group in 1985 to take a hiatus from music. He soon went on to have a solo career, achieving success in the clubs with the 1987 single “Body Rocking”, produced by Richard James Burgess.

Brown was a supporter of the Conservative Party and performed at a party conference in the 1980s In 1981, he performed at the wedding reception following the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, at Buckingham Palace.

Brown owned National Hunt horses, including Gainsay.

In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II named Brown a Member of the Order of the British Empire for “services to popular music for the United Kingdom”. In 2004 he received an Ivor Novello Award for outstanding contributions to British music.

Brown died of liver cancer at his home in the Bahamas on 6 May 2015. He is survived by his wife Ginette and his two daughters, Colette and Leonie.

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