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East 17

For the postcode, see E postal area.

East 17 (later re-grouped as E-17) are an English pop boy band founded in 1992.

The group name came from the postcode for Walthamstow, an area of London between the old East End and the Essex commuter belt. They achieved 18 Top 20 singles and four Top 10 albums, and were one of the famous acts along with Take That in the UK and some parts of the world during the early to mid 1990s. They occasionally blended rap and pop in songs such as "House of Love", "Steam" and "Let It Rain", attaining fame as a result of the main songwriter Tony Mortimer.

Biography

The band began in 1992 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 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 Jonathan Hendy.

Mortimer wrote the vast majority of the group's songs, which often contained rap verses vocalized 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.

East 17 scored 12 Top 10 hits on the UK singles chart between 1992 and 1998. Their debut album, Walthamstow, shot to #1 on the UK album 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 7 weeks in a row and #3 in the UK in 1993. The lyrics to some of their songs (e.g. "Let It Rain") had political undertones, talking about war, peace, equality, love, and other political issues. Their popularity reached Mongolia during the 1990s around the Steam album period, 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. In 1996, the group hit #2 with the track "If You Ever", a duet with the singer Gabrielle.

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 amongst others.

Following the somewhat low-key release of the album Up All Night, their drop in appeal in comparison to previous albums was attributed to the fact that Mortimer stepped down as songwriter. The album's songwriting duties were split among the four members of the group, although all of the singles released from the album were actually penned by Mortimer.

In 1997, Harvey was engulfed in a drug controversy when he claimed he took 12 Ecstasy pills in one night, saying, "It's cool to take drugs". He also claimed 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, with questions being asked in the House of Commons. The group's career and reputation was tarnished. Harvey was sacked as a result. Mortimer later decided to leave several months later, due to creative differences between himself and the rest of the group.

Harvey, Coldwell and Hendy all attempted a comeback in 1998 under the name of 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 "Each Time," which reached #2 in the UK. But without Mortimer's songwriting influence, the band struggled, and after rather disappointing sales of the next single, "Betcha Can't Wait" reaching just number 11 in the charts, and their album Resurrection not selling as much as the record complany would have liiked, the band were droppped by their label in 1999.

2000s

After launching himself as a solo artist with help from Wyclef Jean, Harvey went back to East 17 to play numerous gigs on the nostalgia circuit with Coldwell and Hendy. On the ITV1 docusoap Redcoats, East 17 was shown performing at a gig that was held at Butlins in Bognor on a programme that also featured Keith Harris.

In 2005, Harvey, Coldwell and Hendy performed as E-17 in the country of Mongolia.

Mortimer attempted to create two bands, but each time opted to return to production work for other artists from his Essex studio. He also recorded his own solo material, released in January 2006 on his official website

Brian Harvey made the news in 2005 when he accidentally ran himself over, and required surgical treatment.

On February 4, 2006, Harvey appeared on the UK television music show CD:UK, where he announced that East 17 might make a comeback with the original four members. In mid-February 2006, the group reformed. They played their first concert since reformation on May 30 at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.

After reforming for the one-off gig, it was reported that East 17 had split up again, since Hendy was unable to fully commit to the band because his roofing business took up a lot of his time. Friction also flared up again between Harvey and Mortimer, resulting in the latter's departure and the rest of the boys performing as a three-piece at various club events.

Performing as a three-member group without Mortimer, E17 played at Strathclyde University in Scotland on September 24, 2006, after D. J Colin Murray was unable to attend.

Brian Harvey has been banned from driving for six months on March 3 2008 after being found guilty of going nearly double the speed limit.

Recent Appearances

  • Tony Mortimer appeared BBC TV's "Never Mind The Buzzcocks" on November 9, 2006.
  • East 17 appeared in Sibiu, Romania, on New Year's Eve 2006, and at the Landmarc in Bournemouth on February 22, 2007(www.thelandmarc.com). The group also appeared at the University of Essex on Valentine's day as the main act ( www.essexstudent.com), and at the Creation in Brighton
  • East 17 performed at Liquid Nightclub in Ipswich in April 2007, but were booed continually after coming on stage at about 2:00 a.m. The group performed in a small Moravian town in the Czech Republic on April 21, 2007, and at Swansea's Time&Envy night club on April 25. Photoreport (www.perlamusichall.cz)
  • They appeared at the Gonville and Caius College 2004 May Ball.
  • On May 4, 2007, East 17 played at The University of Chichester's summer Ball as the headl
  • The group played the Summer Ball at the College of St. Mark & St. John (Marjons) in Plymouth, Devon, on May 12, 2007. They were supported by the DJ Pat Sharp, and the sounds of the Boogie Knights disco band.
  • East 17 also played at the Oceana Nightclub in Birmingham, playing a selection of new songs as well as their more familiar songs such as 'Alright' and 'Stay Another Day'.
  • East 17 were the headline act at the University of Warwick's Halloween Ball on October 31, 2007.
  • They appeared at the University of Kent on December 1, 2007, headlining the "Snow Ball".
  • On 7th March 2008 they appeared at Aston University Students Guild.
  • 25th April 2008 they played at University College Dublin.
  • On the 17th May 2008 East 17 appeared at Staffordshire
  • East 17 were to play at The Bailey club, in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Republic of Ireland on Saturday, 28th June 2008. The gig was originally cancelled 5 days before it was scheduled, but then was hastily reorganised to go ahead on Sunday 29th June. The rearranged gig did go ahead, despite the annoyance of many fans who had booked tickets but were then unable to attend the rescheduled gig.

East 17:The Reunion

On May 29, 2007, Channel 4 showed a documentary called East 17:The Reunion, whilst The Independent newspaper reported that the trio of Harvey, Coldwell and Hendy are currently working on new material for a forthcoming album project. The documentary played up the tensions within the band. They have also recently announced the upcoming release of their new single "Fuck That" for Spring 2008. The song refers to the band's experiences in the past and refers to their attitude to the music industry and the media.

Brian Harvey has also been quoted as saying "This time it means so much more to us, in that before we were always guaranteed to have an adoring crowd before us at every concert, whereas now we are working our way back ourselves, and to even have a crowd still these days we consider more of an achievement than anything we've done before."

Albums

Singles

Year Single Chart peak positions Album
UK AUS SWE LAT
1992 "House of Love" 10 5 1 Walthamstow
"Gold" 28 2
1993 "Deep" 5 7 6
"Slow It Down" 13
"West End Girls" 11 4
"It's Alright" 3 1 26 1
1994 "Around The World" 3 4 23 10 Steam
"Steam" 7 18 34
"Stay Another Day" 1 3 1 1
1995 "Let It Rain" 10 12 33 5
"Hold My Body Tight" 12 73 9
"Thunder" 4 36 22 2 Up All Night
1996 "Do You Still?" 7 54 6
"Someone to Love" 16 42 10
"If You Ever" (with Gabrielle) 2 5 4 Around The World (The Journey So Far)
1997 "Hey Child" 3
1998 "Each Time" 2 25 Resurrection
1999 "Betcha Can't Wait" 12

Miscellany

  • Were originally going to call themselves "E-17", but opted for East 17 after the bad press Ecstasy was getting at the time. Ironically, when they reformed as a threesome without Tony Mortimer, they called themselves "E-17"
  • The band logo features a cartoon "Bob The Dog" based on Levy, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Levy was the band's official mascot and she was frequently referred to as the "fifth official member of East 17".
  • During the peak of their popularity, the band were receiving £500 wages a week.
  • The band's name is referenced in the U2 song 'Miss Sarajevo': "Is there a time for East 17?".

References

External links

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