Hotlegs – Neanderthal Man

15th August 1970 · 1970, 1970s, Music

This isn’t the greatest song – little more than drums and a chanted chorus – but it lodges itself in your brain, which helped it sell two million copies in 1970.

It also has a fascinating history which, once again, I am only discovering 50 years late. Hotlegs are technically another one-hit wonder. But they had many more after changing their name… to 10cc.

Neanderthal Man was originally created (at the band’s own Strawberry Studos in Stockport) purely to test drum sounds on new four-track recording equipment bought by studio owners Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman and Peter Tattersall.

Stewart recalled: “The whole thing was just an experiment because Kevin (Godley) wanted to lay all sorts of different drum beats down that he hadn’t recorded before, and there was this crazy sort of nursery rhyme that had just got into our heads.”

He named the band Hotlegs after a girl in the studio whose green hot pants had aroused his passions (where are you now, Kathy Gill?!). The song reached No. 2 in the UK on 15 August 1970 and remained there for two weeks, kept off the top spot by Elvis Presley’s The Wonder of You.

It would be the only hit for Hotlegs, and the quartet responsible – Stewart and Gouldman, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme – released a few other singles under different names (Doctor Father, The New Wave Band, Festival) before re-emerging in 1972 as the rather more successful 10cc.