In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the background of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and also working my way up right into the present.

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A multi-racial brothers soul-funk band writes a song around an interracial couple. It’s a hit in the UK, but it goes nowhere in America. Climate a white American rock band records the exact same song, and it’s nothing like anything rather they’ve released. The white band’s cover of the tune goes come #1, and then they never score another hit again. (Meanwhile, the british soul-funk band, who have actually become large stars in the UK, go on to have actually a nice tiny run in the US.)

What is that? What is that story supposed to teach us around the music industry, or racial strength dynamics, or the method the publicly receives lyrics based upon the race of the human singing those lyrics? I have actually no idea. However that’s the story that “Brother Louie.”


“Brother Louie” came from warm Chocolate, a London band that acquired together in 1968 and briefly signed come Apple Records. In the UK, Hot coco became huge stars, landing songs in the peak 10 every year for 14 year straight. And when disco come in and also they adjusted to the sound, they got pretty huge in America, together well. (In the US, hot Chocolate’s highest-charting single is 1975’s “You Sexy Thing,” i m sorry peaked at #3 in 1975. It’s a 9.) Hot coco hadn’t however released an album once they dropped “Brother Louie,” however they’d currently been in the UK height 10 a couple of times.

Errol Brown, warm Chocolate’s Jamaican-born singer, co-wrote “Brother Louie” through Tony Wilson, their Trinidadian-born bassist (not the factory Records guy). It’s a song around a white male — a male “whiter 보다 white” — dating a girl who’s “blacker than night.” The guy introduces the girl to his family, and they predictably freak the posesthe out: “He take it her home to accomplish his mama and papa / Louie had actually a damaging fight.” In hot Chocolate’s version of the song, he meets she family, too, and they also disapprove: “Louie knew just where that stood.” The white brother blues guitarist Alexis Korner reflects up top top the song, playing the parts of both families, muttering the he “don’t desire no spook” or “honky” in his family.

The song never ever resolves that is conflict, yet it’s clear the Brown is top top Louie’s side: “Nothing bad, it was good.” but Brown might also imply that Louie doesn’t recognize what he’s obtaining into: “Danger, danger as soon as you taste brown sugar.” It’s a deep burble that a funk song, and also while the text aren’t terribly sophisticated, they do give the listener a sense around how a couple’s happiness deserve to be ruined by the ingrained prejudices that the people around them.


Hot Chocolate’s “Brother Louie” walk no business in the US, yet Stories singer Ian Lloyd heard the song one day in his A&R guy’s office. Stories had formed in 1962, when Lloyd met Michael Brown, previous frontman the the Left Banke, a quite successful brand-new York baroque popular music band. (The Left Banke’s highest-charting single is 1966’s “Walk away Renée,” i m sorry peaked at #5. It’s a 6.) Lloyd had actually a unique strangulated howl-rasp tenor, and also he and Brown got in addition to the on purpose of becoming a Beatlesque absent band. That’s precisely what they did. Stories’ self-titled debut and 1973 follow-up About Us are fairly pleasant, undistinguished rock documents that take clear incentive from the later Beatles. They are just around as generic together their tape name.

When Lloyd heard “Brother Louie,” he knew it was a hit, though he claims that he thought the perfect Hot chocolate record was just a demo. Story took the song and adjusted it, making it a little harder and an ext streamlined. They took out the stuff around Louie meeting the girls’ parents, and also they left off the spoken-word bits. But a lot of the track is strikingly comparable — the icy string-stabs, the wah-wah etc scratches, the interplay between bass and organ. The real distinction is Lloyd’s voice, a strutting yelp the a entirety lot of world confused because that Rod Stewart.

Both execution of “Brother Louie” have actually groove come spare. In Stories’ hands, it’s a it is too dirty funk vamp, a solve rhythmic squelcher. In between those strings and also Lloyd’s histrionic delivery, and the basic and secure pulse that the song, it’s usually a disco song. Disco hadn’t really come with each other as a genre yet, however Stories to be from brand-new York, and I would guess the they at least had some idea the what was start to happen in the clubs there. In any kind of case, Lloyd’s shipment — high-pitched, intense, theatrical to the suggest of silliness — would certainly basically lay the blueprint for exactly how white absent singers (including rod Stewart) would certainly adapt to the disco sound in the years ahead.

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About Us, Stories’ sophomore album, had already come out when Stories released their “Brother Louie” cover. Kama Sutra, the band’s label, conveniently released an additional version of the album, with “Brother Louie” tacked ~ above the end. “Brother Louie” sound absolutely nothing choose anything rather on About Us. It’s a clear outlier because that a band that wasn’t lot interested in the sound. Michael Brown had currently left stories after About Us came out. Ian Lloyd remained with the band for one more year, but they didn’t do any an ext hits, and they broke up quickly after. Lloyd go solo, and he didn’t yes, really make any kind of hits, either. (He did, however, come nice close to joining Foreigner, a tape that will eventually present up in this column.) “Brother Louie” became an absolute one-off, a fast brush with something larger. The human being who make “Brother Louie” won’t it is in in this pillar again, but the song hints at a sound that certain as hell will.

GRADE: 7/10

BONUS BEATS: luigi CK used a slightly adjusted version the Stories’ take on “Brother Louie” together the theme tune for his FX show Louie. (Reggie Watts put the sheathe together, and also Ian Lloyd come in come re-record his vocals.) but we don’t talk around Louis CK anymore, therefore fuck that! Instead, let’s go through Bon Jovi — a band that will show up in this pillar — attempting to get funky by extending “Brother Louie” during their 1992 MTV live special:


BONUS BONUS BEATS: DJ zero flipped a “Brother Louie” sample for “Hot Breath,” a track from the rapper Mack B. Dog, which appeared on the 2000 compilation Solesides’ best Bumps. Here’s that: