In a new interview with Sky News, East 17’s chief songwriter, Tony Mortimer discussed the success of the Walthamstow group’s Christmas hit on the 25th anniversary of its release.
He revealed that aside from the song beating Mariah Carey‘s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ to UK Christmas Number One in 1994 it also stopped Jackson from releasing his future hit altogether.
“I got told that Michael Jackson didn’t release ‘Earth Song’ that year because the sales of [‘Stay Another Day’] was going mad.”
‘Earth Song’ ended up being released late the following year, claiming the 1995 Christmas Number One spot.
Elsewhere in the interview, Mortimer spoke at length about why he wrote the song, explaining it was an ode to his brother, who killed himself two years earlier.
“That’s what you do as a songwriter. You draw on emotions and reasons to write your song, and the stronger the emotion or the sadder you feel, that gives you a chance to write a really good song.
“My brother killed himself a couple of years before and I wanted to write and draw on that emotion of loss because I experienced and understood it for the first time in my life in such a massive way that I wanted to write it down and express it.
“I didn’t write my brother a love song, obviously, because that would be just weird, but I used it as the inspiration to write a song of such loss. And I hope people find a bit solace and peace in in that painful, painful thing I went through.”
Now, re-releasing ‘Stay Another Day’ for charity, Mortimer has recorded the song with a brass band and 100 local school children. His original bandmates (Brian Harvey, Terry Coldwell and John Hendy) don’t appear as Mortimer doesn’t “speak to [them] any more as their lives have gone separate ways.”
Mortimer plays piano on the re-vamped track, accompanied by Waltham Forest Youth Choir and part of the proceeds will go to Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which aims to prevent male suicide.
Sharing the picture on social media, she captioned the post: “Been around the world, but there’s no place like home, oh baby” which is a lyric from the group’s 1994 single ‘Around the World’, which reached Number Three in the UK charts.