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Steve Harwell, Smash Mouth's Iconic Lead, Passes Away at 56


Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth performs on stage

TIM MOSENFELDER/GETTY IMAGES


On September 4, Smash Mouth shared the heart-wrenching news via an Instagram post that Steve Harwell, their charismatic former lead singer, has passed away.


Describing Harwell, the band wrote, “Steve was the embodiment of American spirit and fervor, exuding an energy comparable to a dazzling Roman candle in the night sky. He should be celebrated for his relentless ambition and dedication to ascend to the pinnacle of pop fame.”


The band further reflected, “Considering his minimal musical background, his achievements stand out even more. It was Steve's captivating charisma, undaunted ambition, and his larger-than-life persona that powered his journey. He truly lived life in the fast lane, shining brilliantly before leaving us.”


Previously, TMZ had shared that Harwell had been receiving hospice care due to liver failure, though the exact cause of his demise remains unconfirmed.


In 1994, Harwell was instrumental in the creation of Smash Mouth. Their debut album from 1997, “Fush Yu Mang”, introduced the world to the hit “Walkin’ on the Sun” and received double-Platinum certification from RIAA. However, it was their 1999 album “Astro Lounge” that truly skyrocketed them to fame, mainly because of its track “All Star”.


“All Star”, which climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, remains unforgettable especially for its feature in the 2001 animated sensation, "Shrek". Moreover, the band's rendition of The Monkees' “I’m a Believer” further cemented their association with the movie.


After the successes of “Astro Lounge” and their connection with "Shrek", Smash Mouth’s influence in mainstream music began to diminish. Their subsequent tours weren't without their unique incidents; notably, a 2015 event saw Harwell confronting audience members who allegedly tossed bread at him.


Trouble brewed again in 2021 when a video captured Harwell hurling expletives at the crowd and exhibiting slurred speech. Not long after, he decided to step back from touring, linking his decision to his heart ailment known as cardiomyopathy.


Recounting his journey, Harwell once shared with TMZ, “From my youngest days, I aspired to rock stages in packed arenas, and I'm grateful to have realized that vision.”


Even after Harwell’s departure, Smash Mouth remains active, with Zach Goode stepping in as the new frontman.



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