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

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

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/17/arts/music/steve-harley-dead.html

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Mr. Harley was the frontman of the 1970s rock band Cockney Rebel, which landed several hits on the British charts.

A beaded man in a black vest and purple-and-white striped shirt with a guitar on a knee and an arm raised above his head.
Steve Harley formed the band Cockney Rebel in the early 1970s.Credit…Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns

Steve Harley, the 1970s British rock star who topped Britain’s music charts with the single “Make Me Smile,” died on Sunday. He was 73.

He died at his home, his family said on Facebook. No cause was given but Mr. Harley had announced last month that he would step away from the stage to undergo treatment for cancer and previously canceled several concerts scheduled for this year.

Mr. Harley was the frontman of the band Cockney Rebel, which he formed in the early 1970s.

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

Image

Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel in 1974.Credit…Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Other songs found success outside 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, according to Mr. Harley’s website.


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