03 December 2019 12:36
East 17's Stay Another Day is one of the classics of the Christmas season, becoming a staple on the radio from 1 December. However, the story behind the song is one of great tragedy for singer and writer Tony Mortimer. The 49-year-old penned East 17's only number one song about the death of his brother Ollie, who died by suicide, after being inspired by a friend's father nearly passing away but staying with her for another 24 hours. Speaking to Time Out, Tony said: 'I thought I'd write a love song about longing and the end of a relationship, but the muse behind it was really my brother's suicide. Tony penned the song about his brother's death (Picture: Tomos Brangwyn/WireImage) 'For me, it's an incredibly sad song.
I remember the record company telling me it was going to be a hit. And I was like "You ain't releasing that!" Because it was still quite emotionally raw for me, all the memories it was bringing back.' In honour of Stay Another Day's 25th anniversary (yes, it's really been 25 years), Tony has contributed to a new version of the classic song as part of Waltham Forest's London Borough of Culture celebrations. Mortimer plays piano on the track which is sung by a choir 100 local school children, and part of the proceeds of the song will go to Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which aims to prevent male suicide. The song was Christmas number one in 1994 (Picture: YouTube) Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. The star doesn't perform much anymore, but said: 'This is a really good incentive. My brother committed suicide, and Calm saved over 600 people last year from suicide.' Stay Another Day was released in late November 1994, and went on to become the Christmas number one that year after a producer decided the sad ballad could be festive if some bells were thrown on it. Mortimer won a Ivor Novello award for writing the song, and although it is often claimed that he makes six figures each Christmas from royalties, the popstar laughed off the claims. He said: 'It's not as much as that. If it was, I'd be in the Bahamas.' Advertisement You can donate to Calm here, or contact them from 5pm to midnight on 0800 58 58 58. Need support? Contact the Samaritans For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website. MORE: Sir Elton John throws Gucci bag off his private jet after dropping the C-bomb at security on tour MORE: Kraftwerk to join Iggy Pop and Johnny Marr as next All Points East 2020 headliner