|Recorded 1991||Genre Pop, alternative|
|B-side "The Trouble with Andre"|
Released 13 January 1992 (1992-01-13)
Format CD single, 7" single, cassette
Length 3:50 (album version) 3:45 (7" edit)
"Stay" is a song by UK based pop act Shakespears Sister, released by London Records in January 1992 as the second single from their album Hormonally Yours. Upon release, the single became a global smash hit becoming the duo's first and only No. 1 single in numerous territories, including the UK, where it topped the UK Singles Chart for eight consecutive weeks; the longest UK No. 1 reign for any all-female band, and was the fourth biggest selling single of 1992. The single also held the No. 1 position in band member Siobhan Fahey's birthplace, Ireland, for six weeks, and it was a transatlantic hit reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
At the 1993 Brit Awards "Stay" won the award for Best British Video. In November 2010, The X Factor contestant Cher Lloyd performed the song on series 7 of the show. Following this, the original version re-entered the UK, Ireland and the European Hot 100 Singles charts. The song originally sold 490,000 copies in the UK by the end of 1992 which was a year that saw low single sales, as of February 2012 it has sold over 600,000 copies (the threshold for a Platinum certification in the UK). As well as being used on The X Factor, the song has also been featured on Britain's Got Talent, Dancing on Ice, Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice of Ireland and The X Factor New Zealand.
"Stay" was the only Shakespears Sister song that featured Siobhan Fahey less prominently on vocals than Marcella Detroit, with Detroit singing the verses and lead chorus and Fahey singing the song's dramatic bridge. Detroit is noted for singing in whistle register before the last chorus of the song, going up to a high F (F6). The piano, synth and bass guitar were performed by Ian Maidman, and the drums by Steve Ferrera, both musicians whose contributions featured throughout the 'Hormonally Yours' album.
Background and development
Sophie Muller directed the promo video for the single, the concept of which was inspired by the film Cat Women of the Moon. The video featured Detroit and Fahey fighting over a comatose man (played by Dave Evans, former boyfriend of Fahey's Bananarama bandmate Keren Woodward).
The video won Best Video at the 1993 Music Week Awards and Brit Awards, and was the subject of a spoof by comedians French & Saunders. The epic promo was featured in the Top 100 Music Videos of all time by Channel 4.
In some rare versions the beginning quotes a variation of the opening of William Shakespeare's Macbeth: The original quote of the play ("When shall we three meet again") is changed to "When shall we two meet again", referring to the story told in the video. The video starts with a view of a calm night sky. A shooting star passes over a full moon and the song begins. The camera pans back into a hospital room. Detroit is seen tending to her lover, played by Evans, who is in a coma and on the verge of death, while singing to him not to leave her. At the bridge of the song, a portal opens and the angel of death, played by Fahey, appears at the top of a staircase, wearing a sparkling catsuit. She dances around in front of a bright light whilst mocking Detroit with a verse that she cannot save her lover and the best she can hope for is to return safely to her own world. Detroit tries her best to wake the man up, while Death slowly makes her way down the stairs to claim his soul. The two women begin fighting over the man, making it literally and figuratively a fight between life (Detroit) and death (Fahey). During their struggle, the man finally wakes up, he and Detroit embrace while Death, having failed to seduce him into her realm, walks away in disgust and goes back up the staircase to the light, presumably being the stairway to Heaven.