East 17

From06 July 2019to09 November 2019

East 17


East 17 are a band hailing from Walthamstow, London, England who formed in 1991. They were one of the most popular boy-bands of the 1990’s, released five studio albums and sold over 18 million records world wide.

East 17 began when singer and songwriter Tony Mortimer absolutely aced a record label showcase with London Records. The label weren’t looking for a solo artist but knew talent when they saw it, so they signed Mortimer up and decided to form a band around him, deciding on Terry Coldwell and John Hendy to join him. All three of the band members hailed from Walthamstow, a north-eastern district of London, and so the band was named after their post-code, East 17. The final piece of the puzzle came during the recording session for the band’s first single, when Brian Harvey, who had been employed as a back-up singer and dancer originally, was overheard singing away from the mic. Astonished by his singing voice and very aware of his charisma, Harvey was promoted to lead vocalist, and the classic line up of East 17 had been formed.

Mortimer was trusted to write the band’s songs, and while Harvey sung the lead vocals, Mortimer was the band’s rapper. They soon built up a reputation for themselves as the harder, cooler, more street-wise alternative to the other boy-band on top of the world of British pop music, Take That, and right off the bat, they were an absolutely huge deal. Their debut single, 1992’s “House Of Love”, was a top ten hit in the U.K that also charted solidly all over Europe, even hitting number one in Sweden, and their debut album, 1993’s “Walthamstow”, rocketed to number one as well. For the rest of the 1990’s very few bands came close to matching the success of East 17, who scored twelve Top 10 hit singles on the UK charts in 6 years. However spectacular this run was, it was nothing compared to the band’s breakup.

In January 1997, Harvey claimed in an interview that “It’s cool to take drugs”, and that “Ecstasy can make you a better person”. While East 17 were seen as the cool boy-band, this was still a step too far, and the media were soon baying for his blood, even tying his statement into the tragic case of Leah Betts, a school girl who had died after taking MDMA two years earlier. Harvey, understandably, was sacked and Mortimer left a couple of months afterwards. East 17 were dead, but in 1998, Coldwell and Hendy invited Harvey back into the fold to start the band up again, renaming themselves E-17 in the process. The band had some initial success, with their first single “Each Time” hitting number 2 in the charts, but they couldn’t last after public interest in the new project waned, and they split up in 1999.

Over the 2000’s, the band were constantly trying to reform and failing due to the existing friction between Harvey and Mortimer, both of whom were trying to start solo careers due to varying degrees of success. In the end, Coldwell and Hendy found that the best way of bringing East 17 into the 21st century is by not having Mortimer or Harvey in the band at all. In 2014, they added Robbie Craig as their new lead vocalist, and have seen more success as a live act around the U.K and Europe than they’ve done in over a decade. While it might be an exercise in nostalgia for most, that doesn’t mean that a night with East 17 isn’t a hell of a lot of fun, and that’s what this pop music lark is all about in the end. For that, they come highly recommended.

Saturday 06 July 2019

East 17

with Lou Bega and HÜtte

Freilichtbühne, Eisenhuttenstadt, Germany


Saturday 09 November 2019

East 17

with Fatman Scoop, Booty Luv, and 3 others

Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK


January 10, 2019 in