Stay (Shakespears Sister song)

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Single by Shakespears Sister
from the album Hormonally Yours
B-side "The Trouble with Andre"
Released 13 January 1992 (1992-01-13)
Format CD single, 7" single, cassette
Recorded 1989
Genre Pop, Alternative[1]
Length 3:50 (album version)
3:45 (7" edit)
Label London
Writer(s) Siobhan Fahey, Marcella Detroit and David A. Stewart
Producer(s) Shakespears Sister, Alan Moulder, Chris Thomas
Shakespears Sister singles chronology
"Goodbye Cruel World"
"I Don't Care"

"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;[2] the longest UK No. 1 reign for any girl 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.[3]

At the 1993 Brit Awards "Stay" won the award for Best British Video.[4] 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 had sold over 600,000 copies[5] (the threshold for a Platinum certification in the UK).

"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.

Music video[edit]

Background and development[edit]

Sophie Muller directed the promo video for the single, the concept of which was inspired by the film Cat Women of the Moon.[6] The video featured Detroit and Fahey fighting over a comatose man (played by Dave Evans, former boyfriend of Fahey's Bananarama bandmate Keren Woodward).[7]

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.[8]


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.[9] 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.[10]

Contrary to popular belief, the video, although tends to be in favour of Detroit and her begging of Evans to Stay with her, can in some sense be seen as completely contradictory. Fahey, although seen as the angel of death, can, in some lights, be seen as the true saviour. For example, Detroit sings that when Evans dreams, he "must only think of her", and there must be no "inbetweens". That line, although sang in a sweet, beseeching manner, is ominous and signals an unrelentless desire for control on Detroit's part. it could then be theorized that Fahey's part is only meant to be seen as evil through the eyes of Detroit, and, if perhaps viewed from the perspective of Evans, or impartial onlookers, she is meant to be saving him. However, she gives up when she can see that Detroit's grasp of Evans is too great, and Evans is powerless to stop her. She sings about "your own world", being the real world, in which Evans is not present, and this music video is all but a dream to him. So she's telling him "Wake up, come back to your own world", and essentially duels with Detroit for his soul, Fahey trying to save it, Detroit wanting it all for herself.


Whilst filming the music video, as Fahey only had a small (albeit important) part, she had to spend 12 hours waiting for her turn, during which she is rumoured to have passed the time, by drinking a full bottle of Stolichnaya vodka all to herself. Although her character was intended to be demented, and slightly unhinged, Fahey's rumoured inebriation is thought to have contributed to her acting ability in this particular role.

Track listing[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • The song was covered by Emma Whitney & Julie Richards on series 5 of Stars In Their Eyes in 1994.
  • Cher Lloyd performed the song on the Halloween episode of The X Factor series 7 in 2010, the Shakespears Sister original made the UK and Ireland iTunes Top 10 and re-entered the Official UK Chart at No.12 and the Irish Chart at No.10.
  • The song was used in the closing scenes of the season 4 episode of Ghost Whisperer, "Body of Water".
  • Sharron Davies used the song for her dance routine on the seventh week of Dancing On Ice in 2010.
  • Kiera Byrne sang the song on week 3 of the 2012 series of The Voice of Ireland
  • Abbey Clancy used the song for her dance routine on the Halloween episode of Strictly Come Dancing series 11 in 2013.
  • Henrietta Adewole performed the song on the 2014 live finals of Britain's Got Talent
  • Steve Broad sang the song on week 4 of the 2015 series of The X Factor New Zealand

Cover versions[edit]


  • French and Saunders did a parody of the song and video in their sketch-show in the early nineties called "Dickens' Daughter". The sketch also parodied other videos by the band, including "I Don't Care" and "Goodbye Cruel World".
  • Newman and Baddiel also sent up the song on the 1992 comedy sketch show The Mary Whitehouse Experience. David Baddiel played Marcella Detroit and Rob Newman lampooned Siobhan Fahey; when she opens her mouth to sing the more uptempo bridge of the song the sound of a ship's foghorn is heard instead.
  • In 1993 a parody of the video featured in the video to Mr Blobby where it is Mr Blobby not the man lying on the bed which he then falls off.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 537–9. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ a b "Charstats - Shakespear's Sister". Archived from the original on 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  4. ^ "1993". 1993-02-16. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Marcy & Siobhan about STAY". YouTube. 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Explore". Channel 4. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  9. ^ "Shakespears Sister 'Stay'". YouTube. 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  10. ^ "Shakespears Sister 'Stay'". YouTube. 2009-11-11. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  11. ^ "Siobhan Fahey - Bad Blood - Discogs". Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  12. ^ "Australian Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  13. ^ "Austrian Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  14. ^ " – Shakespears Sister – Stay" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ Canadian Top Singles
  16. ^ "French Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  17. ^ "GER Charts > Shakespears Sister". Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  18. ^ "Rish Charts > Shakespears Sister". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  19. ^ "Dutch Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  20. ^ "New Zealand Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  21. ^ "Norwegian Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  22. ^ "Swedish Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  23. ^ "Swiss Charts > Shakespears Sister - Stay". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Shakespear's Siter - Allmusic discography". allmusic. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  25. ^ "European Hot 100". billboard. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  26. ^ "Chart Track: Week 43, 2010". Irish Singles Chart.
  27. ^ "Archive Chart: 2010-11-13". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  28. ^ "Archive Chart: 2010-11-13" UK Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "13th November 2010 UK Singles Download Chart". billboard. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  30. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  31. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1992". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  32. ^ "British single certifications – Shakespears Sister – Stay". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Stay in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  33. ^ "BPI Awards Search". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  34. ^ "American single certifications – Shakespears Sister – Stay". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  35. ^ "SEARCHRIAA – Gold & Platinum: Shakespears Sister". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  36. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Goodnight Girl" by Wet Wet Wet
UK number one single
22 February 1992
(eight weeks)
Succeeded by
"Deeply Dippy" by Right Said Fred