Former Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell, whose distinctive rasp will be heard on the ska/punk-pop classics “Walkin’ on the Solar,” “All Star,” “Then the Morning Comes,” and “I’m a Believer,” has died, following an extended battle with varied well being points that compelled him to retire from music in 2021. He was 56 years outdated. On Sunday, it had been introduced by Smash Mouth supervisor Robert Hayes that Harwell had entered in hospice take care of final-stage continual liver failure, was being sorted by his fiancée, and that he had “solely every week or so to stay.”
Hayes mentioned in an announcement that Harwell “handed peacefully and comfortably” on Monday morning at his dwelling in Boise, Idaho, “surrounded by household and associates,” including: “Steve has been retired from Smash Mouth for 2 years now, and the band continues to tour with new vocalist Zach Goode. That mentioned, Steve’s legacy will stay on via the music. With Steve, Smash Mouth has bought over 10 million albums worldwide and topped the charts with two No. 1 hit singles, 5 prime 40 singles, three Sizzling 100 singles, 4 Billboard 200 albums and a Grammy nomination to not point out the lots of of movie and tv placements and naturally these musical options in Shrek.
“Steve’s iconic voice is without doubt one of the most recognizable voices from his technology. He beloved the followers and beloved to carry out,” Hayes continued. “Steve Harwell was a real American authentic. A bigger-than-life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle. Steve ought to be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned willpower to achieve the heights of pop stardom. And the truth that he achieved this near-impossible aim with very restricted musical expertise makes his accomplishments all of the extra exceptional. His solely instruments had been his irrepressible appeal and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size cajones. Steve lived a one hundred pc full-throttle life. Burning brightly throughout the universe earlier than burning out.”
Steven Scott Harwell was born Jan. 9, 1967 in Santa Clara, Calif., and after fronting a rap group referred to as F.O.S. (Freedom of Speech) within the early ‘90s, he fashioned Smash Mouth in San Jose with drummer Kevin Coleman, guitarist Greg Camp, and bassist Paul De Lisle in 1994. After Smash Mouth (previously stylized as Smashmouth) signed to Interscope Data in 1997, they launch their debut album Fush Yu Mang, which was buoyed by the fuzzy-funk groove of the spy-movie/beach-blanket romp “Walkin’ on the Solar” and a bouncy, earnest cowl of Battle’s “Why Cannot We Be Mates.”
“Walkin’ on the Solar” went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Various Airplay chart and Fush Yu Mang bought 2 million copies, however Smash Mouth’s 1999 sophomore album, Astro Lounge, was much more profitable, going triple-platinum and yielding an excellent larger hit single, “All Star.” The sunny stadium anthem peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 and acquired a Grammy nomination for Greatest Pop Efficiency by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Twenty years later, “All Star” took on an entire new surprising life as an web meme, changing into certainly one of most-streamed rock songs within the U.S. between 2017 and 2021.
“I strive not to concentrate to social media very a lot. I strive to not personally learn and take a look at all that shit. However I feel it’s cool that ‘All Star’ has made such a resurgence” Harwell informed Stereogum in 2017.
Over the course of their profession, Smash Mouth bought greater than 10 million albums and charted 10 complete Billboard hits. Together with their originals, they had been recognized for his or her spirited covers, together with “Why Cannot We Be Mates,” the Neil Diamond-penned Monkees traditional “I’m a Believer,” Easy Minds’ “Do not You (Overlook About Me),” and Query Mark & the Mysterians’ “Cannot Get Sufficient of You Child.”
Together with “I’m a Believer” for 2001’s Shrek and “Why Cannot We Be Mates” for 1998’s Wild Issues, Smash Mouth recorded different film songs, like a canopy of the Beatles’ “Getting Higher” for The Cat within the Hat and a brand new model of “I Wan’na Be Like You” for The Jungle E book 2, each in 2003. Harwell and Smash Mouth additionally composed two authentic songs, “Beside Myself” and “The whole lot Simply Loopy,” for the 2013 South Korean animated movie Pororo, the Racing Journey. In 2001, the group appeared as themselves within the Jerry Zucker comedy flick Rat Race. Harwell additionally famously appeared as himself on the small display screen in 2006, on the sixth season of VH1’s “celebreality” present The Surreal Life, alongside roommates Alexis Arquette, Sherman Hemsley, and Tawny Kitaen (all of whom have since died) and Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille.
In 2013, Harwell was recognized with cardiomyopathy (a type of coronary heart illness that causes the center muscle turns into enlarged and weak), an acute neurological situation referred to as Wernicke encephalopathy, and coronary heart failure. He additionally struggled with alcohol abuse for a lot of his life. In August 2016, whereas performing on the Urbana Sweetcorn Competition in Urbana, In poor health., he collapsed onstage and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, whereas De Lisle crammed in on lead vocals for the rest of Smash Mouth’s set. In 2017, the band postponed a number of concert events whereas Harwell underwent remedy for his coronary heart issues. A alternative singer was introduced in to take over for some gigs, shocking many attendees who initially didn’t discover the change.
Harwell ultimately returned to stay performing, however in October 2021, he made a weird look on the Huge Sip beer and wine competition at Hudson Valley’s Bethel Woods Heart for the Arts, throughout which he appeared intoxicated — slurring his phrases, threatening the viewers, and even giving what seemed to be a Nazi salute. Following that debacle, which had gone viral by way of TikTok, Harwell formally introduced his retirement resulting from his “longstanding medical points.” A Smash Mouth consultant defined at the moment that the singer had forgotten “the place he was [and] his personal lyrics” at Bethel Woods and had “restricted understanding of his atmosphere resulting from certainly one of his episodes.”
Smash Mouth’s rep then revealed that Harwell had “suffered profusely through the years with a number of varieties of dependancy,” which had “enormously impacted his motor features together with speech and impaired reminiscence. … Regardless of Steve’s finest efforts to work via these illnesses, he’s heartbroken to share that it has change into unattainable for him to proceed doing what he loves most, performing in entrance of the band’s tens of millions of followers all over the world.”
Smash Mouth in 1997, left to proper: Steve Harwell, Paul De Lisle, Greg Camp, Kevin Coleman. (Paul Natkin/Getty Pictures)
“Ever since I used to be a child, I dreamed of being a rock star performing in entrance of sold-out arenas and have been so lucky to stay out that dream,” Harwell mentioned in a 2021 assertion upon his retirement. “To my bandmates, it’s been an honor performing with you all these years and I can’t consider anybody else I’d have somewhat gone on this wild journey with. To our loyal and superb followers, thanks, all of this was doable due to you. I’ve tried so arduous to energy via my bodily and psychological well being points, and to play in entrance of you one final time, however I simply wasn’t capable of.”
With Harwell’s assist, his Smash Mouth bandmates (De Lisle being the only remaining member from the unique ‘90s lineup) then sought out a brand new everlasting frontman, ultimately hiring Zach Goode in January 2022. “I’m so grateful to each certainly one of you who has helped Smash Mouth promote over 10 million albums worldwide, put us on prime of radio charts, and those that have stored ‘All Star’ related as one of many prime memes on the web right this moment,” Harwell mentioned. “I can’t wait to see what Smash Mouth accomplishes subsequent and am trying ahead to counting myself as one of many band’s latest followers.”
Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth performing in 1997. (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Pictures)
This isn’t the primary time that the Harwell household has skilled a well being tragedy. In 2001, the Smash Mouth frontman’s 8-month-old son with then-wife Michelle Laroque, Presley Scott Harwell, died of issues from acute lymphatic leukemia after being sick with the illness for only some weeks. The singer later created the Presley Scott Analysis Basis for Leukemia in his son’s honor.
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