East 17’s Terry Coldwell shares tragic history behind iconic Christmas single

East 17 frontman Terry Coldwell has revealed the dark history behind the group’s number one hit single Stay Another Day as the group celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Loyal fans of the beloved boy band will remember how Terry, Tony Mortimer, John Handy and Brian Harvey took the music industry by storm in back in 1991. They quickly became firm favourites with radio stations and rivals for the clean-cut band Take That at the time.

Their hit 1994 Christmas single made music video history and the group continued to be tour the world performing for their millions of screaming fans. But what fans may not know is the emotional inspiration behind the single itself.

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Speaking exclusively to Daily Star, the singer revealed that the song was inspired by the loss of Tony’s late brother Ollie who died by suicide. He explained: “Well, it was written by Tony.

“There were four or five people who were song writing including the producers and stuff, and yeah, I think it was wrote about Tony’s brother. Tony wrote about his brother who committed suicide so it’s quite a deep song really.

“And then the producers got a hold of it and came in hard and turned it into a bit of a Christmas song with the bells and stuff. But it’s got a deeper meaning behind it.” Tony previously opened up about the writing process when he appeared on This Morning back in 2019.

He told viewers: “My brother committed suicide a couple of years before and I used that as the muse to write a song about loss. It turned into a love song – I didn’t write my brother a love song, I used that as the loss behind it, and a friend of mine had lost her father.”

The 54-year-old admitted that the song started out as a “delicate” album track that he never wanted to be released. He went on: “It was a very delicate album track that was never to be released, ever, but people liked it and I said, ‘No, you can’t release that because it’s kind of a personal one’.

“Having no control at all, it got released and it became the biggest hit that we ever had. It was a really personal song just to stay on the album, no-one would know about it… For me, it was so surreal – of all the songs on the album, you chose that one!”

The group split up back in 1997 after the group became embroiled in drug-related controversy. It’s fair to say the group tried several times to get the band back together over the years but they’ve yet to make a long-term go of it.

In 2013, Terry recruited Robbie Craig who was previously part of the group the Artful Dodger. He later added Joe Livermore to the group, who previously worked as a stunt man before finding fame in the boyband.

Since then, the band have launched a new Christmas charity single titled Merry Quitmas which has already received more than 100,000 views since it dropped on December 4, 2023. The group joined forces with Riot Labs to release their first charity single Merry Quitmas to encourage smokers to kick the habit over the festive period.

Speaking about their new single, the group said: “Smoking sucks, we’ve wanted to quit for years and now we’re going to give it a good go ourselves at the same time as campaigning to get Merry Quitmas to No. 1.

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“Almost 30 years on from East 17’s first Christmas Number 1, it was time to give it another go, and we reckon this single is some of our best work. We really hope fans old and new get behind it.” Their new track can be downloaded oniTunesand Amazon Music.

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