Hot Chocolate/Stories, “Brother Louie”

It was the cover of this tune, by Stories, that was a big hit in the US in 1973. The arrangements of the songs are different. Hot Chocolate has more of a soul feel, with flangy guitars and strings, while Stories rocks the guitars more, but the biggest difference in this story of interracial love is the point of view.

Hot Chocolate wrote the song, so you have to give their version primacy. In Hot Chocolate’s version, contrasting vignettes of Louie and his gal at their respective parents’ homes, and their fathers’ spoken word intolerance demonstrate that there is no difference between black and white in the worst possible way.

Stories version changes the story, as it were. Louie brings his black gal home and there is some kind of unspecified scene. That’s it. Gone is the equal opportunity prejudice, as well as the strings and the spoken word. In Stories’ version the white parents are the bad guys, in a vague way, and they shouldn’t be. You know what I mean?

I remember at the time hearing that this song was an answer song to Richard Berry’s Louie Louie, which is apparently not true.

Louie C.K. adopted Brother Louie as the theme song for his show, Louie, in which he plays a dad in an interracial marriage that is now defunct. Interestingly, the show uses the Hot Chocolate arrangement of the song, with vocals by Stories’ Ian Lloyd.

9 thoughts on “Hot Chocolate/Stories, “Brother Louie”

  1. In the “learn something new every day” department, I never knew Hot Chocolate had anything to do with “Brother Louie.”

    “Brother Louie” was to me:

    First, one of those magical “good song that dominates the AM airwaves for an entire summer” songs from my early teens. I put “Brandy” in that category too. Heck, it may even have been the same summer.

    Second, I had this great Left Banke and offshoots album (on Rhino maybe?) that included “Brother Louie.” I forget the connection between the bands. I don’t think that particular greatest hits mashup album ever made it to CD.

    Finally, that Hot Chocolate picture is fantastic. Like if two guys from TOUT Wars joined The Family Stone.

  2. I just never had any use for either Stories or Hot Chocolate. I was into Queen and 801, then the Clash and the Jam and the Pistol when all that 70’s shit was going on. I am an elitist.

  3. The Clash and The Jam and The Pistols did not exist in 1973.

    I don’t get Queen, but they certainly are legendary to a lot of folks.

    What is 801?

    • You Sexy Thing came out here in ’76, it seems (produced by Mickey Most who did Herman’s Hermits, too), and I knew Brother Louie (Stories) was a hit, but i was into the serious San Francisco alternative FM scene from 1972, when i was able to move back, on out.

      So, they played Floyd, and Moody Blues and long Dead cuts followed by a Mingus song and then a Joni Mitchell one. I so loved it just because it was all good, and you never knew what was coming next. And, for sure they played new stuff, for I found Queen via “Now I’m Here” and then “My Best Friend” which were alternatives before mainstream, anyway.

      By ’77 i was bored, though. I had seen Queen (with Thin Lizzy at Winterland) and they were ok live, but a better studio band in my view.

      And, in ’77 I was in London as well documented, and that was that.

  4. In 1973 Slade had two hits, Kiss, the Scorpions, Queen, and Bruce Springsteen debuted, David Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust, CBGB opened, the Midnight Special, King Biscuit Flower Hour and Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert all debuted,

  5. From Wikipedia’s Left Banke page, explaining their tenuous connection to Hot Chocolate: “After leaving The Left Banke in 1967, Michael Brown helped form the band, Montage. Although Brown was never an official member of Montage, his presence is unmistakable in its music.[9] The band released one self-titled album in 1969, which included a re-recording of The Left Banke song “Desiree”, before Brown left. Brown’s next project was the band Stories, featuring singer Ian Lloyd. The band had a hit in 1973 with “Brother Louie”, which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[6] However, Brown had left the group before the success of “Brother Louie”. Brown’s next project was with The Beckies, although the band achieved only modest success and Brown soon left.”

  6. ’73? Wow, I don’t remember hearing “Miracles” by Hot Chocolate till after I came back from that trip, but in ’73, I was indeed into ELO and The Move and just starting on Queen.

    Did not get Bowie till Diamond Dogs, but then I totally did.

    But, I LOVED 801 when their live album came out.

  7. Yup, i was into all the Roxy solo projects too including 801. Both Manzanera and MacKay released worthy albums, and of course Ferry and Eno released many. I don’t know the significance of 801 but in the song “The True Wheel” Eno sings “We are the 801, we are the central shaft, and we are here to let you take advantage of our lack of craft.” I always wondered where that boy got his lyrics from…

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