Steve Harwell, former lead singer of rock band Smash Mouth, best known for his 1999 hit hit “All Star,” died Monday. He was 56 years old.
His death at his home in Boise, Idaho, was confirmed by the group’s manager, Robert Hayes, who said the cause was liver failure.
Smash Mouth was formed in 1994 in San Jose, California and consisted of lead singer Harwell, drummer Kevin Coleman, guitarist Greg Camp and bassist Paul De Lisle. The group first debuted in 1997 with the song “Walkin’ on the Sun”, which was included in their debut album “Fush Yu Mang”.
“’Walkin’ on the Sun’ changed the music. Harwell told Rolling Stone in 2019: “It changed the way people listen to music.” “It was very different, very unusual and very special. It was just the sound we created. You can’t ask anyone who tries to copy us. You can’t.
The group achieved even greater success in 1999, with the release of their next album, “Astro Lounge,” and their chart-topping hit, “All Star.” The Grammy Award-nominated song has also appeared in numerous movies and gained new popularity two years later when it was featured in the opening credits of “Shrek,” the Academy Award-winning animated movie about a monster voiced by Mike. myers.
“We had no idea how big ‘Shrek’ was going to be,” Harwell said in a 2019 interview with Rolling Stone. (“All Star” was also featured on the soundtrack of the 1999 movie “Mystery Men,” whose characters are featured in the song’s music video.)
Since then, “All Star” has existed and has become a rich source for online parodies. Nearly 25 years later, Harwell’s voice is still linked to the song’s recognizable opening lines:Someone once told me / The world is going to roll me / I’m not the sharpest tool in the shack”
“All Star” has close to 1 billion streams on Spotify. Covers of “Walkin’ on the Sun” and “I’m a Believer”, which were included in the “Shrek” soundtrack of the Monkees song, also garnered hundreds of millions of streams.
Harwell left the band in 2021 and retired completely from performing after he was seen slurring and using profanity during a live show in upstate New York. Earlier that year, according to various media reports, Harwell took a hiatus from live performance due to heart problems.
With a rotating lineup over the years, Smash Mouth hasn’t released a new studio album in nearly a decade, but has released new singles this year, including “Underground Sun” with a different soloist.
The band is still performing—including a show scheduled for Saturday in Illinois—but that will forever be associated with “All Star,” something Harwell was also aware of.
“No one else could sing this song.” Harwell told Rolling Stone in 2019: “It would never be what it is now. I could have presented this song to a million bands and they would try to do that and it would never be like this.”
This article was originally published on: New York Times.