The sad news of Errol Brown's death at the age of 71 was announced yesterday by his manager Phil Dale. The former frontman of Hot Chocolate was a familiar face for much of the 1970s and 1980s, as the British group with the soulful sound was a regular feature on the UK singles' charts. He died at his home in the Bahamas from liver cancer. His enduring memory will live on through the timeless classic track "You Sexy Thing", a top five success in both the UK and America.

The early days

Hot Chocolate were formed by Brown and Tony Wilson just in time for disco Music to figure prominently on the UK music scene.

Despite not having the massive impact that the Bee Gees had in the 1970s as disco fever took off, they did enjoy considerable chart success. So much so that between 1970 and 1984 their singles charted at least once every year.

It was not just in the UK that their popularity blossomed, as more than 50 countries globally enjoyed their melodic lyrics and tunes over the years. Their early days were guided by the famous record producer Mickie Most. Brown and the band's bass player Wilson wrote most of the original music they recorded, but also provided songs for other singers and groups of the era. Herman's Hermits and Mary Hopkin were just two of the artists to have benefited from their song-writing abilities.

Figurehead for the group

Brown was the figurehead for Hot Chocolate, with his smart dress sense and charismatic features. He gave the tracks energy when it was required, such as with the unforgettable "You Sexy Thing". The song was a top ten hit in Britain in the '70s, '80s and '90s, the only song to achieve that notable feat.

Yet his soothing tones could also be heard on the successful "So You Win Again" and "It Started with a Kiss".

Recognition for his contribution

When the group disbanded in 1986, Brown moved on to a solo career with some additional chart success. His contribution to the British music industry was recognised through the award of a MBE in 2003 and then the prestigious Ivor Novello Award a year later.

Charity work

Brown was a keen golfer and continued to play when he moved with his family to the Bahamas, where he ended his days. Through a number of charity golf tournaments, he raised thousands of pounds for children's welfare causes.