Hot Chocolate: Cicero Park

Stabbarific and I have been watching FX’s Louie on Netflix lately. If you haven’t heard of it, Louie is Louis C.K.’s Seinfeldian vignette based comedy show about himself… and it’s hilarious.

The show opens with an extended clip of Louis C.K. walking through a New York City neighborhood, eating pizza, and eventually arriving at the Comedy Cellar while being serenaded by the song Brother Louie. You know, “Louie, Louie, Louie, Lou-ieeee!”.  That song.

She was black as the night, Louie was whiter than white… Danger, danger when you taste brown sugar, Louie fell in love overnight

Anyway, Stabbarific said to me, “what song is this”? and, though I couldn’t name the original artist, it’s damn famous and I was surprised someone could exist without having heard it, especially Stabby.

The song was one of the earliest singles by the UK band Hot Chocolate. On the show it is being covered by Ian Lloyd, a man predominantly known as the lead singer of the 1970’s era band, Stories; Stories being predominantly known for popularizing Hot Chocolate’s British version of Brother Louie with a US version of their own. Stories’ Louie ultimately camped at #1 on the Billboard charts for 18 straight weeks.

While Hot Chocolate later went on to make the legendary You Sexy Thing, Stories actually dismantled in an attempt to distance itself from the popularity of Louie. As explained by Lloyd:

All of a sudden, we had a big hit with a song that did not represent our music and the direction we were trying to go in. I didn’t think it would affect me that much, but it did. Consequently, I decided that I had to remove myself from that, so that I could come back and show what I really can do.

As Louie became increasingly popular (noted by the consecutive re-issues of Stories album, About Us, first including the [previously missing] Brother Louie Single at track 13, and later reordering the entire album with Louie appearing as track 1) the band’s original work became progressively obscured.

Lloyd left the band and, after several well received solo albums, went on to sing back up vocals on many of Foreigner’s hits including Cold As Ice, Feels Like the First Time, & Double Vision, as well as songs by Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, Yes, and Survivor.

Hot Chocolate now has an equal number of Greatest Hits albums to actual studio albums, a milestone sure to be surpassed with Brother Louie back in the cultural zeitgeist. And now you know.

[itunes id=”322581887″].

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