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


Steve Harley, the Seventies British rock star who topped Britain’s music charts with the only “Make Me Smile,” died on Sunday. He was 73.

He died at his residence, his household stated on Fb. No trigger was given however Mr. Harley had introduced final month that he would step away from the stage to bear therapy for most cancers and beforehand canceled a number of live shows scheduled for this 12 months.

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,” wherein Mr. Harley’s even-keeled vocals and melancholic lyrics cruise over instrumentals bearing the optimistic sound distinct to bands of the period. The track hit the highest of the British charts in February of that 12 months.

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 line with Mr. Harley’s web site.

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

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

“She sang round the home after we had been children,” he stated in a 2015 interview for the Tim Quinn YouTube channel, evaluating his mom’s voice to the British vocalist Anne Shelton.

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

A full checklist of survivors was not instantly obtainable.

An sickness and surgical procedures stored Mr. Harley rotating out and in of the hospital as a toddler. 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 line with his on-line biography.

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

He certainly turned preoccupied with phrases within the late Nineteen Sixties and early Seventies as he pursued a profession in journalism, working for a number of every 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 file deal in 1972.

A prolific performer, Mr. Harley’s singing days stretched into his last years. He took the stage as not too long ago as 2023.

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