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Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell dies aged 56

Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth seen at KAABOO 2017 at the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds on 15 September 2017.
Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth seen at KAABOO 2017 at the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds on 15 September 2017. Copyright Amy Harris/2017 Invision
Copyright Amy Harris/2017 Invision
By Theo Farrant
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Smash Mouth achieved international stardom through their catchy tunes, energetic performances, and with a little help from an unlikely source – an animated green ogre named Shrek.


Steve Harwell, the lead vocalist of the American band Smash Mouth, has died at the age of 56.

Harwell's manager, Robert Hayes, had previously disclosed that the singer was in the advanced stages of liver failure, receiving end-of-life care within the comfort of his home. 

In an official statement conveyed to both Rolling Stone and CNN, Hayes announced that Harwell departed this world "surrounded by family and friends". 

Smash Mouth, which enjoyed a string of chart-topping hits throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including classics like "All Star," "Walkin' on the Sun," and "I'm a Believer," will forever be remembered for its musical contributions.

How Smash Mouth achieved international stardom

In 1994, Harwell founded Smash Mouth, a band hailing from San Jose, California. The release of their debut album, "Fush Yu Mang," in 1997, which showcased their unique blend of ska, punk, and pop influences, sent the band soaring to stardom. 

This album featured the chart-topping sensation "Walkin' on the Sun," which emerged as a quintessential anthem of the late '90s, climbing to the second position on the US Hot 100 chart.

While some critics initially dismissed the band as a one-hit wonder, Smash Mouth defied their expectations with the release of their second album, "Astro Lounge," in 1999.

This album had a standout track: "All Star", which became an instant hit. But the track got even more famous two years later when it joined the soundtrack of the original 2001 Shrek movie (as well as the band's rendition of "I'm A Believer" which graces the closing credits). 

In 2021, Harwell decided to leave the band due to a combination of physical and mental health challenges. 

He grappled with alcohol addiction, received a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, a heart condition, back in 2013, and later developed a neurological condition that had an impact on his memory and ability to speak.

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