Classic Rock’s One-Hit Wonders: Hotlegs

Introduction to Hotlegs

Hotlegs were an English pop/rock band who appeared fleetingly with a hit called “Neanderthal Man” in 1970. The band started with Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman, both formerly of The Mindbenders (whose best-known single was “A Groovy Kind Of Love”) owned a recording studio in Stockport in Greater Manchester (along with ex-road manager of Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Peter Tattersall). Later on Kevin Godley, Lol Creme joined the group. Under the name Hotlegs, the band released a single titled “Neanderthal Man” which became a million-selling hit especially in the UK. Encouraged by the success, the band immediately set out to record a full album called Think: The School Stinks. Next, the band released a follow-up “Umbopo” under a new moniker Doctor Father. That though, didn’t chart and was the band’s only released under that name. Several other singles such as “Lady Sadie”, “Run Baby Run” and “Desparate Dan” were released at home and overseas but none of them made a dent on the charts. Frustrated by the recent failures, all of the four members – Stewart, Gouldman, Godley and Creme – ended Hotlegs, coming to history as a one-hit wonder group. They created another band from its ashes, newly named 10cc. This time, 10cc became a success, registering several Top 10 hits in the UK and a few hits on the US, the most successful being “I’m Not In Love” in 1975.

Hotlegs’ formation and early years

Included in the myriad of one-hit wonders, Hotlegs was a 70s music era British pop rock band popularly known for their hit, “Neanderthal Man.” Hotlegs (later launched as 10cc) composed of Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, Lol Creme and Graham Gouldman.

Stewart’s former band The Mindbenders (of “Groovy Kind of Love” fame) dissolved in the fall of 1968. The following year, he teamed up with fellow Mindbender Gouldman and Peter Tattersall (ex-road manager of Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas) to build their own recording studio in Stockport which they called Strawberry Studios. Around that time, Stewart and Gouldman later recruited Godley and Creme (of the short-lived bubblegum pop duo Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon)

“Neanderthal Man,” Hotlegs’ one and only hit

In the early 1970, Stewart, Godley and Creme came up with the song “Neanderthal Man,” which would be their one and only hit. The song was recorded at the Strawberry Studios using the newly installed, high-end recording equipment for a refined drum layering on a four-track machine. Under the name Hotlegs, they issued “Neanderthal Man” which became a hit after its release. In the summer of 1970, it peaked at #2 in the UK while it was #22 in the US It also did extremely well with the sales of two million copies worldwide. The success of the single encouraged the band to release their first album Think: The School Stinks, whose tracklist included their biggest hit.

Philips changed their name as Doctor Father exclusively for the release of their own version of “Umbopo.” It was initially recorded for Kasenetz and Katz as Crazy Elephant. On the other hand, Doctor Father’s rendition was a failure.

Returning as Hotlegs, they had tour dates around Britain with The Moody Blues, another British rock band. Gouldman played the bass with The Moody Blues who would be eventually his future band mates on 10cc. The following year, they released a string of unnoticeable singles: “Lady Sadie,” “Run Baby Run” and “Desperate Dan.” The band didn’t experience another chart success after the enormous success of “Neanderthal Man,” making them a one-hit wonder. In 1972, Hotlegs came out again, but this time as 10cc who would become famous for their hit single “I’m Not in Love.”