East 17

East 17
Release date
01 January 1970
East 17
01 January 1970 |

With the notable exception of Take That, East 17 were the most successful teen-oriented dance-pop band in Britain of the early ’90s. Led by songwriter Tony Mortimer, the group initially tried to emulate American rap and hip-hop, before settling down into a commercial fusion of new jack R&B, hip-hop beats, rap, and pop melodies. The stylish, accessible blend of dance music, plus the group’s boyish good looks, made East 17 into a teen pop sensation. Occasionally, the band achieved some credibility from dance circles when they convinced remixers to reshape their infectious singles, but for the most part, East 17 was a decidedly adolescent, and decidedly British, phenomenon, scoring a number of hit singles during the early and mid-’90s..

Comprised of four vocalists/rappers, Tony Mortimer, Brian Harvey, Terry Coldwell, and John Hendy, East 17 were formed in London in 1991. Taking their name from their local London postal code in Walthamstow, the group began their musical career by imitating American rap outfits, eventually finding inspiration from urban soul and dance music as well.

By 1992, their demo tapes had made their way to London Records, where Tom Watkins, an A&R instrumental in launching the careers of the Pet Shop Boys and Bros, signed the band in April of 1992. In August of that year, the group’s debut single, “House of Love,” was released and it shot into the British Top Ten, selling over 600,000 copies by the end of the year. It was quickly followed in 1993 by their debut album, Walthamstow, which became a hit.

For the next two years, East 17 was very popular throughout Britain, and managed to gain a following in Europe, as well. Steam, the band’s second album, was a hit upon its release in 1995.

In 1996, the band released the singles compilation Around the World: The Journey So Far.