Wednesday, 6 August 2014

East 17 'Stay Another Day'

Chart Peak: 1 [5 weeks]

'Stay Another Day', the million-selling 1994 Christmas No. 1 single was East 17's 9th consecutive UK hit... Anthony, Brian, John & Terry have now had No.1 hits in countries all over the world from Australia to France to Israel.
The video I've posted above is the one that was shown at the time, rather than the one that gets shown on Christmas TV nowadays. It's interesting that East 17 and Take That were considered pretty close rivals at this time even though TT had six chart-topping singles [in the 1990s] to East 17's only one. Perhaps RCA were just better at knowing how to time releases, but at least Tony, Brian, the one who looked a bit like a baby and the other one could console themselves with the one achievement that their rivals never managed: The Christmas Number One. Indeed, though this was the third single from an album it was to some degree designed for the position, with the sleigh bells added to tug at festive heartstrings.

Though I don't think this was made public at the time, Tony Mortimer has said in retrospect that the song was inspired by the suicide of his brother, which possibly explains the rather atypical nature of this as an East 17 single. Indeed there's something slightly ludicrous about seeing them in the video trying to reconcile their tough street-smart image with singing a sensitive ballad, but in retrospect at least there's something rather likeable about it, helped by the relatively sparse arrangement (those sleigh bells aside) even if the singing isn't actually that good. Possibly the very fact that some people who liked the song knew they wouldn't like the rest of an East 17 album helped sales too, although I'd guess there was a significant constituency of people who wouldn't admit they liked it and indeed many like myself who didn't really listen to it at the time. Now that I have, possibly assisted by the fact that I'm doing so at the height of summer rather than amid saturation airplay over Christmas, I wouldn't say I loved it but I've developed a certain respect for the song. I'm still not convinced it's a Christmas song though, and I don't suppose Ashley Abram was either since the genuinely festive is something rarely included on main-series albums.

On a side-note it's unlikely that 'Stay Another Day' really did sell a million copies in 1994-5: the Official Chart Company have revised down their sales estimates for this era, though they also decided that any single already publicly declared a million-seller should be able to retain that status. The point is largely moot now, since download sales in the past ten years will have comfortably taken it into seven figures by now.

Also appearing on: Now 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35 (with Gabrielle), 36, 41 (as E-17)
Available on: Around The World - The Journey So Far

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