Lyrics East 17 Stay Another Day: The sad story behind the words of the Christmas carol

Nearly three decades after its release, the East 17 song “Stay Another Day” has remained a staple of the holiday season.

The track quickly became a holiday favorite upon its release in 1994, with many assuming the words sung by Brian Harvey and his bandmates were about a failed relationship.

In fact, however, the song written by Tony Mortimer has a much deeper meaning.

Speak with songwriting magazine In 2016, Mortimer revealed, “I had the melody and the chords and I was looking for a story that went beyond that.”

He decided to base the lyrics on a very sad event in his life.

“It was based on my brother’s suicide and the loss of someone,” he explained. “What would you do if you had one more day with a loved one?”

Mortimer continued, “As time went by I started putting the story together and I wrote it differently than any song I’d written before.

“It’s a different way of writing because they were just sections of statements, rather than a verse being a story from beginning to end.”

Referring to certain lyrics from the song, Mortimer said, “If you take the first verse, it was just sections like, ‘Don’t you know we’ve come too far now / just to try to throw it all away? and ‘I’ve only just started to know you / all I can say is you won’t stay another day.’

“It was all based on conversations I had with my brother and I was trying to make it a love song about the end of a relationship.”

Despite the song’s sad origins, Mortimer said he intended to make the song “ambiguous” and expressed hope that people would get the meaning they desire from the song when they hear it around the Christmas season.

East 17 “Stay Another Day” music video


“I wanted to write in an ambiguous way that would mean a lot to a lot of people,” he said.

“It was a bit risky because I didn’t know how well it would go down, but I wanted the lines to mean something to everyone. Yes, my story is in there, but more importantly, I wanted it to reach people.”

He continued, “Once people connect with a line in a song, that makes it a hit.”

When life gets tough, Samaritans are there – day and night, 365 days a year. You can call them toll-free on 116 123, email them at, or visit them to find your nearest branch.

In the US, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chatting online for help. Lyrics East 17 Stay Another Day: The sad story behind the words of the Christmas carol


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