1970–71: Hotlegs; Doctor Father; The New Wave Band
When the three-month production deal with Kasenetz-Katz ended, Gouldman returned to New York to work as a staff songwriter for Super K Productions and the remaining three continued to dabble in the studio.
With Gouldman absent, Godley, Creme and Stewart continued recording singles. The first, "Neanderthal Man", released under the name Hotlegs, began life as a test of drum layering at the new Strawberry Studios mixing desk, but when released as a single by Fontana Records in July 1970, climbed to No. 2 in the UK charts and became a worldwide hit, selling more than two million copies. Around the same time, the trio released "Umbopo" under the name of Doctor Father. The song, a slower, longer and more melancholic version of the track earlier released under the name of Crazy Elephant, failed to chart.
Reverting to the successful band name Hotlegs, in early 1971 Godley, Creme and Stewart recorded the album Thinks: School Stinks, which included "Neanderthal Man". They then recalled Gouldman for a short tour supporting The Moody Blues, before releasing a follow-up single "Lady Sadie" b/w "The Loser". Philips reworked their sole album, removed "Neanderthal Man" and added "Today" and issued it as Song. Stewart, Creme and Godley released another single in February 1971 under yet another name, The New Wave Band, this time with former Herman's Hermits member Derek "Lek" Leckenby on guitar. The song, a cover version of Paul Simon's "Cecilia", was one of the few tracks the band released that they had not written. It also failed to chart.
The band also continued outside production work at Strawberry, working with Dave Berry, Wayne Fontana, Peter Cowap and Herman's Hermits, and doing original compositions for various UK football (soccer) teams. In 1971 they produced and played on Space Hymns, an album by New Age musician Ramases; in 1972–73 they co-produced and played on two Neil Sedaka albums, Solitaire and The Tra-La Days Are Over.