On Super Bowl Sunday, there was this.
An ad for Chevy Silverado trucks set to Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” from 1975.
On the day after Super Bowl Sunday, Deadspin writer Drew Magary went off — and generally rightly so — on that song’s use in films and commercials.
“It’s 2014 and advertisers and movie producers are STILL using this goddamn song as a punchline. When you hear ‘You Sexy Thing,’ you know that you are about to see something unsexy on the screen because IRONY.”
True. We offer the Chevy Silverado ad as evidence.
“There are billions of songs out in the universe and yet ‘You Sexy Thing’ and ‘I Feel Good’ and ‘Spirit in the Sky’ get used over and over and over again. They need to be formally retired. They need to create a Song Nursing Home where “You Sexy Thing” can go and wither. Because it’s the worst.
It wasn’t even good to begin with.”
There, sir, we must disagree. So we gather here in defense of “You Sexy Thing.”
More specifically, we gather here to celebrate Hot Chocolate, the multiracial group that cranked out a string of memorably moody — yet kinda cool — pop-soul-dance songs in the ’70s and sent them across the pond from England.
Singer Errol Brown and bass player Tony Wilson wrote many of their great songs. Figures. A bass player writing all those great bass lines heard during the disco era. They were produced by British legend Mickie Most, who put them on his RAK label in the UK.
I don’t often come across Hot Chocolate records while digging. I have only two, and I don’t have the LP with “You Sexy Thing.”
“Cicero Park,” an album full of hypnotic, menacing songs, is one of mine.
You know two of the more disquieting cuts off that LP: “Emma,” which ends with a suicide, and the original version of “Brother Louie,” about an interracial love affair. You may even know a third. “Disco Queen” shoots down any gent’s hopes in the first line: “She don’t need no man to give her satisfaction. … Music is her lover. Music turns her on and on.” And yes, kids, there were women like that in the dance floors of the mid-70s.
Most memorable after all these years, though, is the title cut. We often heard it, a gloomy take on a doomed neighborhood, after our local Top 40 FM radio gave way to free-form programming after 10 p.m. It’s the kind of thing Norman Whitfield could have produced.
“Cicero Park,” Hot Chocolate, from “Cicero Park,” 1974. It’s the group’s first studio LP, and is out of print, but is available digitally.