Smash Mouth Singer Steve Harwell Dead at 56

Former Smash Mouth vocalist Steve Harwell, the singer behind the band’s biggest hits including “All Star,” has died at 56, multiple outlets are reporting.

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The cause of death was liver failure, according to the band’s manager, per The New York Times. Harwell died at his home in Boise, Idaho, “surrounded by family and friends,” Smash Mouth manager Robert Hayes confirmed to Rolling Stone.

The news comes less than a day after a report from TMZ that Harwell had entered hospice care “after battling medical complications for years.” Harwell left the band in 2021 to deal with health issues after a show where video footage showed him slurring his words.

[RELATED: Smash Mouth Frontman Steve Harwell Retires, Leaves Band Due to Health Concerns]

Smash Mouth formed in San Jose, California in 1994 as a ska punk band but evolved into an alternative rock group suited for the times. The quartet found its first hit three years later in “Walkin’ on the Sun,” a surfy alternative rock tune penned by the band’s guitarist, Greg Camp. Harwell’s distinctive voice helped send the song to No. 1 on Billboard‘s US Adult Top 40 and US Alternative Airplay charts.

They hit even bigger two years later with the ubiquitous underdog anthem “All Star,” released on the soundtrack of the 1999 superhero film, Mystery Men. Like “Walkin’ on the Sun” and other previous Smash Mouth hits, “All Star” was written by Camp and produced by Eric Valentine, who also helped track alt-rock smashes for Third Eye Blind and Good Charlotte.

“All Star” found even wider success when it soundtracked key sequences in the 2001 films Shrek and Rat Race. The movie bump helped send the song to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and helped position Smash Mouth’s third album, Astro Lounge, to No. 6 on the Billboard 200.

In the macro sense, “All Star” never really went away, blaring in sports arenas and at weddings and other gatherings for over two decades. The song found new life online as a meme in the 2010s, even

“It really speaks to how much that song became a part of the culture of the generation. I’m really proud of that,” Valentine told MTV News of the song’s impact in 2019. “Whether people are making fun or it or celebrating it or both or whatever, the fact that it’s still meaningful to people, I think it’s really cool.”

Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage

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