[Photo Credit: JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Pfc. Eric Liesse, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Smash Mouth Lead Singer Steve Hartwell Dead at 56

The New York Times is reporting that Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Hartwell has died.

Reports last week indicated that Hartwell was on his deathbed and not expected to survive.

The New York Times reported that a cause of death was not specified but the band’s agent confirmed Hartwell’s death at his home in Boise, Idaho.

The Times report continued:

Smash Mouth was founded in 1994 in San Jose, Calif., and was made up of Harwell, the lead singer, Kevin Coleman on the drums, Greg Camp on the guitar, and Paul De Lisle on the bass. The band first broke out with their 1997 song “Walkin’ on the Sun,” which appeared on their debut album, “Fush Yu Mang.”

“‘Walkin’ on the Sun’ changed music. It changed the way people listen to music,” Harwell told Rolling Stone in 2019. “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 enjoyed even greater success with the release of their next album, “Astro Lounge,” in 1999, and its chart-topping hit “All Star.” The song, which was nominated for a Grammy Award, also appeared in numerous films, and enjoyed newfound popularity two years later when it was featured in the opening credits of “Shrek,” the Academy Award-winning animated film about an ogre voiced by Mike Myers.

“We had no clue how big ‘Shrek’ was going to be,” Harwell said in the 2019 interview with Rolling Stone. (“All Star” also appeared on the soundtrack for the 1999 film “Mystery Men,” whose characters feature in the song’s music video.)

Hartwell retired from the band and performing all together in 2021, the reason given was heart problems.

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