The Heartbreaking Story Behind East 17’s Stay Another Day

The Christmas number one was inspired by a tragic event.

Stay Another Day
Stay Another Day Discover the heart-breaking truth Image East 17

It’s one of the biggest Christmas number one’s ever, and everyone knows the famous video, but Stay Another Day remains one of the most misunderstood pop songs of the past 25 years.

East 17’s festive favourite has become a staple of Christmas playlists everywhere, but the song has a heartbreaking story behind it that’ll change the way you think about it forever.

While most people believe the song is about the end of a relationship, band member and lead songwriter Tony Mortimer revealed that he wrote the song about his brother Oli, who tragically committed suicide.

Speaking to The Big Issue, Tony said: “It’s so odd that it’s a Christmas song. I wrote it about my brother’s suicide – so it’s about the end of a relationship, and missing someone. That’s what it’s based on, and I think people like that. It might have been a hit because people felt sorry for me or whatever, but it’s also a very nostalgic song for Christmas, for looking back over the year and times gone by.

He added: “I feel so reflective around this time of year, about life in general. I think Christmas is a time for that. I make sure none of my family are alone. If it’s their choice then fine, but if not then I’ll make sure to go and look after them.”

The poignant song reached number one at Christmas in 1994, and remains a classic of its kind. While the track has always been seen as one of the most emotional festive songs, few could have known the tragic inspiration behind it.

Tony also spoke about the track with Songwriting Magazine on a separate occasion, saying that he finds Stay Another Day difficult to listen to and perform, particularly at Christmas time.

“I wish I could enjoy it a bit more but I always find it very emotional. Sometimes it comes on the radio and I’ve got to turn it off,” he said.

“I get emotional when I sing it and the crowd sings it back, that’s always really tough. I’ll tell myself that’s the last time I’m ever going to perform it, but I always seem to do one more.”

The tragic revelations are food for thought at Christmas, and the song is one of the most heartbreaking tracks you’re likely to hear this year.

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Loaded staff writer Harry Fletcher has covered news, sport and entertainment for several major websites across the UK. Follow him on Twitter at @Harry__Fletcher.