Steve Harley, 'Make Me Smile' singer, dies at 73

 March 18, 2024

Steve Harley, the British musician known, among other things, for the song Make Me Smile, has died at the age of 73. 

Harley's passing has been confirmed by his family, which has released a statement via The Guardian.

"Desperately missed"

According to his family, Harley died at his home in Suffolk, England, on the morning of Sunday, March 17, 2024.

"We are devastated to announce that our wonderful husband and father has passed away peacefully at home, with his family by his side," the family wrote.

It continued, "The birdsong from his woodland that he loved so much was singing for him. His home has been filled with the sounds and laughter of his four grandchildren. Whoever you know him as, his heart exuded only core elements. Passion, kindness, generosity. And much more, in abundance."

The cause of death was cancer. Harley had been receiving treatment for it up until his death.

Harley's family said that the singer will be "desperately missed by people all over the world."

Who was Steve Harley?

Harley, whose birth name is Stephen Malcolm Ronald Nice, was an English singer and songwriter, who was the frontman for the band Cockney Rebel.

"He formed Cockney Rebel, which released a debut album, The Human Menagerie, in 1973 before foundering over creative differences. With a new lineup and rebranded as Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, the band released the 1975 album The Best Years of Our Lives, which contained Harley’s biggest hit," the Associated Press reports.

This big hit was Make Me Smile. 

The outlet continues, "With its barbed lyrics – aimed at Harley’s former bandmates -- and infectiously catchy chorus, the Alan Parsons-produced Make Me Smile topped the U.K. singles chart. It went on to be covered scores of times and was used on countless soundtracks, including in the 1997 film The Full Monty and in ads for Carlsberg beer, department store Marks and Spencer, and Viagra."

Harley was also known for several other hit singles, including Judy Teen and Mr. Soft. 

Tour canceled

Rolling Stone reports that Harley's death comes not long after he announced that he had to cancel his music tour in order to undergo treatment for cancer. "While cause of death wasn’t revealed, Harley died just a month after he announced that he would step away from touring in 2024 'due to on-going treatment for cancer,'" the outlet writes.

At the time, Harley said that he "is hoping next year will be altogether different."

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