East 17 are an English pop boy band formed in 1992. 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. They occasionally blended rap and pop in songs such as House of Love, Steam and Let It Rain, attaining popularity as a result of the group’s songwriter Tony Mortimer and lead vocalist
Brian Harvey.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. In 1997, Harvey was engulfed in a drug-related controversy when he claimed that he took twelve Ecstasy pills in one night, stating 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 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.
On 4 February 2006, Harvey appeared on the UK music television show CD:UK, where he announced that East 17 might make a comeback with its four original members.
In mid-February 2006, the group reformed, and played their first comeback concert on May 30 at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London.
Mortimer departed for the third time in 2013. Robbie Craig later joined East 17 in early 2014. John Hendy and Terry Coldwell became the only original band members in the group at that stage.
In 2017, East 17 released their sixth studio album 24/7, with the intended first single being Strip along with an accompanying music video.
The album was released early in Australia as 24/7: Release of the album in Europe is expected late 2017/beginning 2018