"Stay Together" is a non-album single by Suede, released on 14 February 1994 on Nude Records. It is the last single released while guitarist Bernard Butler was in the band, though subsequent singles from Dog Man Star feature his music. Oddly enough, although lead singer Brett Anderson considers the single and the video that accompanies it the worst the band has released, it is tied with "Trash" as the highest charting single the band has released at number three. The song also charted in Ireland, peaking at no. 18.
Following the death of Bernard Butler's father, relations within Suede started to deteriorate. Butler kept to himself on the following tour of the US, while the other band members "indulged in probably the worst excesses of their career". Butler travelled to concerts by himself or on The Cranberries tour bus, rather than travel with his bandmates. This influence became prevalent as Butler later stated, "Whatever I did on Stay Together was the A to Z of the emotions I was experiencing... defiance, loss, a final sigh."
What was intended as a couple of days' recording stretched out to two weeks. It was later revealed that the song had almost 50 tracks of recorded material on it. According to an entry inSimon Gilbert's diary in the biography Love and Poison, Butler objected to the lyrics in "Stay Together". The entry read: "Lyrics not to be printed on cover of single in case his mother reads it. '16 tears', obviously paedophilic!". The lyrics for "The Living Dead" were also criticised by Butler, at the time he said: "I've written this really beautiful piece of music and it's a squalid song about junkies".
The promotional video for the song was filmed at Riverside Studios in London. The band's view of the video, directed by Jon Klein, is that it features too much empty symbolism. They feel that parts featuring Butler hanging upside down, playing his guitar, as well as Anderson gagged, are particularly misplaced considering the song's tone. During the video there are small clips of two jumpers about to fall from the roof of a tall building. There is also images of the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center in New York.
It is well known that the song has been "disowned by the band", perhaps because it reminded them of the problems within the band at the time. On the single Anderson says, "I don't think the fuss about Stay Together was justified, I think that was just hype," He shrugs. "I just find it a bit bombastic. I don't think the lyrics are that good either. It's okay, you know, it's okay. I think the b-sides are much better". However publicist Phill Savage suggests that Anderson "can't believe he wrote it about that girl, Anick" (Brett's girlfriend at the time), which is why he has no feelings for it. Anderson has described "Stay Together" as one of the few points in the band's career where hype dictated its success.
Jack Rabid of Allmusic described the chorus of "Stay Together" as the weakest of their singles up until that point. Though, he went on to say that a "dramatic bridge punctuated by uncharacteristic background touches in the form of horns and cello make 'Stay Together' another fine outing." Spin wrote "The 'Stay Together' EP found the group still inhabiting that beautiful-loser persona with a title track that embraced the romance of joint suicide." In the book The Last Party, John Harris wrote: "If its opulent packaging - like a double album, its vinyl version came in a gatefold sleeve - seemed designed to confirm that the group had left their indie peer group behind, the music it contained made the point explicit."
This was the last song ever played at a live gig with Butler, at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh, on 12 February 1994. Although he and Anderson performed the B-sides, "The Living Dead" and "My Dark Star" on MTV's Most Wanted the following month. After its release, "Stay Together" was very rarely played live. It was played as the closing song to the ICA residency in 2003. B-side, "The Living Dead" has become a favourite live song over the years, including an appearance at Suede's Royal Albert Hall reunion gig. The Tears also performed the song at a gig at the Sheffield Leadmill in April 2005. Both b-sides were also played at the "Dog Man Star" night on 20 May 2011.
- "Stay Together " (3:55)
- "The Living Dead" (2:48)
- "My Dark Star" (4:06)
- "Stay Together" (8:28)
- Ltd. 12"
- "Stay Together"
- "The Living Dead"
- "My Dark Star"
- "Stay Together "
- "The Living Dead"