Dance-Pop, House, Adult Contemporary, Club/Dance, Teen Pop, Electronic
Yearning, Sensual, Sentimental, Romantic, Dreamy, Relaxed
East 17 are an English pop boy band group currently consisting of original members John Hendy and Terry Coldwell and newest addition to the line-up Robbie Craig. The original line-up also featured Brian Harvey and Tony Mortimer.
Profile Bio Text
East 17 are a four-piece pop boy band comprising Tony Mortimer, John Hendy, Terry Coldwell and Brian Harvey. Tony Mortimer is the group's frontman and primary songwriter. Formed in Walthamstow, London in 1991, the group have achieved eighteen Top 20 singles and four Top 10 albums, and were one of the UK's most popular boy bands during the early to mid-1990s. The group went on to sell 20 million records worldwide. Their boy band style was unique occasionally blending rap and pop in songs such as "House of Love", "Steam" and "Let It Rain".
Formation The band began in 1991 when Mortimer was promised a record deal after he showcased his own material. The deal was granted under the condition that he form a group, which was the format London Records were looking for.
The group was named East 17 after the postcode of their hometown, Walthamstow. The original roles in the band were soon altered when Brian Harvey, who was intended to be a back-up singer and dancer, was heard singing along during a recording session. He was duly promoted to lead vocalist. The group's other members are Terence Coldwell and John Hendy.
Mortimer wrote the vast majority of the group's songs, which often contained rap verses vocalised by him to complement Harvey's more fluid R&B style vocals. The group was usually seen as a grittier, more political and hip-hop or rap-aligned group than rival boy band Take That, as noted by Guy Adams of The Independent;
“ They shaved their heads, and had tattoos, and were a lot, lot cooler than the nancy boys of Take That. In the great five-year battle that dominated British pop, East 17 were also on the winning side. Their music was sharper and more streetwise. It was infused with hip-hop and R&B, and sold by the bucketload: 20 million records across Europe, compared with Take That's paltry 19 million. ”
— Guy Adams
East 17 scored twelve Top 10 hits on the UK Singles Chart between 1992 and 1998. Their debut album, Walthamstow, shot to #1 on the UK Albums Chart. It featured a string of Top 20 singles, including "House of Love" and "Deep". "It's Alright" became a major success in Australia, reaching #1 in early 1994 for seven consecutive weeks, and #3 in the UK in 1993. The lyrics to some of their songs, such as "Let It Rain", had political undertones, talking about war, peace, equality, love, and other political issues. Their popularity reached Mongolia, particularly with the song "It's Alright", helped by music television channels, Channel V and MTV.
In 1994, upon the release of their second album, Steam, they scored their only UK number-one single with "Stay Another Day", which remained at the top for five weeks and was also that year's Christmas number-one. Following the somewhat low-key release of the next album, Up All Night, their drop in appeal became apparent compared to previous albums. The album's songwriting duties were split among the four members of the group, rather than Mortimer alone, although all of the singles released from the album were penned by him.
East 17 also appeared on the Childliners record The Gift Of Christmas, alongside acts such as MN8, Boyzone, E.Y.C., Sean Maguire, Deuce, Ultimate Kaos, Let Loose, Backstreet Boys, Peter Andre, Michelle Gayle and Dannii Minogue. In 1996, the group hit #2 with the track "If You Ever", a duet with the singer Gabrielle.
Decline (1997-1999)In January 1997, Brian Harvey was engulfed in a drug-related controversy when he claimed that he had taken Ecstasy pills on a night out, stating in the press that "It's cool to take drugs" and claiming that Ecstasy "can make you a better person".
The act went against the group's "boy band" image, and there was a huge media uproar, leading to questions being raised by John Major in the House of Commons. With the group's career and reputation tarnished by the affair, Harvey was swiftly sacked and Mortimer decided to leave several months later, due to creative differences between himself and the rest of the group. The band's split in 1997 has been described as "one of the greatest break-ups in pop history".
Coldwell and Hendy later reinstated Harvey and attempted a comeback in 1998 renaming the group "E-17" and landed a record deal with Telstar Records after recording an album's worth of self-written material in their home studios. Their first single as E-17 was "Each Time," which reached #2 in the UK. But without Mortimer's songwriting influence, the group's initial success soon wavered, and after disappointing sales of the next single "Betcha Can't Wait" reaching number 12 in the charts, and their album Resurrection failing to make the UK Top 40 and not selling as much as the record company would have liked, the band were droppe
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Music Profile Complete
Take That, Five
Music Genre (Text)
Pop, dance-pop, Europop, hip hop
1991–1997, 1998–1999, 2006–present
FOD Records (2011–2014), Telstar Records (1998–1999), London Records (1991–1997)
John Hendy, Terry Coldwell, Robbie Craig
Past Group Members
Brian Harvey, Blair Dreelan, Tony Mortimer
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