Home » Steve Harley, ‘Make Me Smile’ Singer, Dies at 73

Steve Harley, ‘Make Me Smile’ Singer, Dies at 73

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Steve Harley, the Seventies British rock star who topped U.Ok. music charts with the one “Make Me Smile,” died on Sunday. He was 73.

He died at his residence, his family said on Facebook. No trigger was given however Mr. Harley had introduced final month that he would step away from the stage to endure remedy for most cancers and beforehand canceled a number of live shows scheduled for this yr.

Mr. Harley was the frontman of the band Cockney Insurgent, which he fashioned within the early Seventies.

His largest hit was the 1975 single “Make Me Smile,” during which Mr. Harley’s even-keeled vocals and melancholic lyrics cruise over instrumentals bearing the optimistic sound distinct to bands of the period. The tune hit the highest of the British charts in February of that year.

Different songs discovered success outdoors of Britain.

“Sebastian,” a single featured on the band’s debut 1973 album, “The Human Menagerie,” wound up being a No. 1 hit in Belgium and the Netherlands, in keeping with Mr. Harley’s website.

In 1986, Mr. Harley and the singer Sarah Brightman recorded the unique “Phantom of the Opera” for the musical of the identical identify by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Steve Harley was born on Feb. 27, 1951, in London and was the second of 5 kids, in keeping with his on-line biography. His mom, who sang jazz and swing within the Nineteen Forties, supplied Mr. Harley one in every of his earliest introductions to music.

“She sang round the home once we have been children,” he stated in a 2022 interview for the Tim Quinn YouTube channel, evaluating his mom’s voice to the British vocalist Anne Shelton.

When he was a baby, his mom would sing alongside to Buddy Holly and different Fifties pop singers who would play on the radio, he stated within the interview.

A full record of survivors was not instantly obtainable.

An sickness and surgical procedures stored Mr. Harley rotating out and in of the hospital as a baby. At age 12, whereas recovering from surgical procedure, Mr. Harley discovered an affinity for the works of D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway and different authors and took a liking to Bob Dylan’s music, in keeping with his on-line biography.

These artists moved a younger Mr. Harley to understand that his life would doubtless be “preoccupied with phrases and music,” his web site stated.

He certainly turned preoccupied with phrases within the late Sixties and early Seventies as he pursued a profession in journalism, working for a number of day by day newspapers within the U.Ok.

Across the similar time, his life as a singer was born in London nightclubs the place he would carry out free and met his eventual Cockney Insurgent bandmates, with whom he struck the band’s first document deal in 1972.

A prolific performer, Mr. Harley’s singing days stretched into his remaining years. He took the stage as lately as 2023.

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