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Steve Harwell Dies: Smash Mouth Lead Singer Was 56

Steve Harwell, former lead vocalist and co-founder of rock band Smash Mouth, known for its 1999 hit “All Star,” died Monday at his home in Boise, Idaho, just days after entering hospice for complications of liver failure, the New York Times reported. He was 56.

A manager for Harwell confirmed to TMZ over the weekend that the singer “has been struggling with alcohol abuse throughout his life — and now, he’s reached the final stage of liver failure.”

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Harwell is one of the founders of Smash Mouth which was formed in 1994. The rock band is famously known for its hit song “All Star” which was featured in the band’s 1999 album Astro Lounge. It was nominated for a Grammy Award and was heard in numerous films, including in the opening credits of the Oscar-nominated Shrek. “All Star” also was included in the soundtrack for the 1999 film Mystery Men.

“We had no clue how big ‘Shrek’ was going to be,” Harwell said in a 2019 interview with Rolling Stone.

Harwell also praised “Walkin’ on the Sun”, saying the song “changed music. It changed the way people listen to music,” he told Rolling Stone in the same 2019 interview. “It was so different and it was so unusual, and it was so special. It just had that sound that we created. Ask anybody that’s tried to copy us, you can’t. You just can’t.”

The band’s other hit songs included “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby” and “I’m a Believer.”

Harwell left the band in 2021, announcing his retirement due to health issues. Smash Mouth, which still performs, has released new singles, including “Underground Sun” this year, with a different lead singer.

Harwell was a featured cast member in the sixth season of the VH1 reality show The Surreal Life in 2006. He appeared on several other television shows, including Kim Possible, and also made a cameo in the 2001 film Rat Race.

Harwell also performed two songs, “Beside Myself” and “Everything Just Crazy”, for the 2013 South Korean-Chinese animated film Pororo, The Racing Adventure.

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