The group, which is comprised of Another Level’s Dane Bowers, Boyzone’s Shane Lynch, 5ive’s Abz Love and Phats and Small’s Ben Ofoedu, were given the seal of approval of Tony Mortimer, the former East 17 member who penned the 1994 hit, for their spin on the festive single.
Ben said: “Sometimes when you cover songs you very rarely get acknowledged by the writer of the song.
“But the fact that the writer knew about it and gave you the green light and played on the record is the most amazing thing.”
Tony, who plays the piano on the upcoming cover, won an Ivor Novello for writing ‘Stay Another Day’, which also topped the charts in Sweden, Ireland and Denmark, and was nominated for ‘Best Single’ at the 1995 BRIT Awards.
The emotional track is actually about the suicide of his late brother Ollie.
And the lyricist admitted he never intended for it to be a Christmas single when he wrote it, but he’s thrilled that Boyz On Block are aiming for a Christmas Number One with their rendition of the much-loved song, 26 years after it reached the top of the UK Singles Chart in December 1994.
He explained: “I didn’t think ‘Stay’ would be a single let alone achieve what it did and still have people into it 26 years later. It’s very humbling.
“I’m a huge fan of all the boys individually and I was really excited to hear their version collectively.
“I was honoured I could play the piano on it and Abz’s lead vocal has just blown me away, I love it. I think it’s a brilliant version.”
Although the lads have the approval on Tony, the rest of East 17 – which was also comprised of Brian Harvey, John Hendy, and Terry Coldwell – have no idea about the cover.
Ben added to The Sun newspaper’s Bizarre column: “The rest of the East 17 boys don’t know we’ve done it. They’ll be as surprised as the readers are.”
Boyz On Block – who have Lewisham’s gospel choir The Tabs on their take of ‘Stay Another Day’ – also recreated the iconic all-white outfits worn by East 17 in the iconic music video for the track.
However, Dane insisted: “We deliberately didn’t want to get all dressed up. We didn’t want to do the fake snow. We wanted to make it as casual as we could.
“I think the way it’s been recorded is different, you can tell that it’s a newer version. For me, I think Abz’s verse is pretty much how the verse should have been sung. He kills it.”
Tony agreed: “I love it. I think it’s a brilliant version.”
Boyz On Block formed last year and have a debut album of reimagined hits in the works.
‘Stay Another Day’ by Boyz On Block featuring Tony Mortimer is released on November 20.