This song was written by Tony Mortimer of East 17 about his brother Ollie committing suicide. The lyrics of the first verse, "Don't you know we've come too far now just to throw it all away" are a reference to throwing his life away, while "I touch your face while you are sleeping, and hold your hand, don't understand what's going on." takes place after he has committed suicide. Mortimer explained to NME in 2012: "I'd grown up with the other guys in the band, so they knew it was about him, though it wasn't something I told anyone about until people started asking about it in interviews."
In the UK, this was the #1 song of 1994. Tony Mortimer told NME in 2012 that he knew from the beginning this would be a hit: "Sometimes when I'm working on a song, I'll just let it play on repeat, and 'Stay Another Day' was one of those," he said. "I made spaghetti on toast once and realised that I'd had it playing for half an hour and it hadn't pissed me off yet, so it must be good."
Despite it being #1 during Christmas 1994, Mortimer told NME that he didn't pen the song for the festive season: "It wasn't meant to be a Christmas single," he said; "the A&R department said we should stick some bells on the end, but that's as much as it touches on the old ho-ho-ho stuff. I thought they were all mad."
The song was also inspired by a good friend of Mortimer's who lost her father. He recalled to NME: "As he was dying in his hospital bed, he woke up and came back for another 24 hours. When people are leaving, you always wish you had one more day with them, and that's where the title came from."
Girls Aloud recorded a cover version as the b-side for their debut single, "Sound of the Underground
." Mortimer has said in several interviews that he finds it odd that the girl band covered a song about his brother's suicide.
Tony Mortimer: "I always prefer writing ballads because they are easy to write. They're slow, there's hardly any words in them and before you know it, you've got to the end of three and a half minutes." (Source 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh).
The song topped the UK charts for five weeks. Mortimer recalled to NME: "What I was really happy about was that Take That used to go to #1 for one week and then go out, so I wanted to stay at #1 for two weeks. Then it was three and I thought, 'We've so kicked some a--e here.' Then four and five and I thought, people are going to start hating me now."
The song also reached #1 in Sweden, Denmark and Ireland.
Doritos crisps used this song for a UK Christmas advert in 2013. The spoof cover played by the brand’s mariachi band featured a cameo by Tony Mortimer. The campaign had previously seen the band do mariachi versions of "Don't You Want Me
" by Human League and "Love Machine" by Girls Aloud.