The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The story behind Steve Harwell

The man who brought ‘All Star’ anthem to life

Steve Harwell, the magnetic frontman of the infamous band Smash Mouth, has left a lasting legacy on the music industry with his unique vocals and infectious stage presence. Harwell’s path from modest beginnings to worldwide success over several decades is an ode to his skill and perseverance.

Born on Jan. 9, 1967, Harwell was raised in Santa Clara, California. He has always had an intense passion for music. He was exposed to a wide variety of musical genres while growing up, from rock and pop to funk and soul, which had a significant impact on his taste in music. It did not take him long to make the decision to work in the music industry. Harwell was a founding member of the band Smash Mouth, which was formed in 1994 and quickly rose to fame. In the congested music landscape of the 1990s, the group stood out thanks to its trademark fusion of rock, pop, and ska and to Harwell’s unique raspy voice. Their breakout came in 1997 with the release of their album “Fush Yu Mang,” which had the number-one song “Walkin’ on the Sun.” 

One of Harwell’s greatest assets as a vocalist is his ability to interact with his audience. Smash Mouth’s live concerts turned into must-see events thanks to his engaging attitude and explosive onstage presence. The band’s lasting popularity was fueled by Harwell’s stage vigor, and his contagious excitement never failed to get spectators to sing along.

His voice is often described as harsh and distinct. His soulful, gritty voice gives Smash Mouth an original edge that makes them stand out from other bands. No matter what he sings, whether it is the anthem “All Star” or the touching ballad “Then the Morning Comes,” Harwell’s voice is immediately discernible and impossible to forget.

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Along with his vocal abilities, Harwell was also a key contributor to the songwriting for Smash Mouth. Many of the band’s successes were co-written by him, and he produced lyrics that are well-liked by listeners all over the world. Smash Mouth’s music is approachable and upbeat because his lyrics frequently convey an attitude of positivity and enthusiasm for life.

Smash Mouth saw their fair share of difficulties throughout the years, despite their early popularity. The music business may be unpredictable, and fashions change quickly. The band did, however, continue to advance thanks to Harwell’s drive and love of music.

In 2011, Harwell experienced a health scare when he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a medical condition which impacts the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. This health crisis led him to take a break from touring in order to focus on his health. Harwell made an incredible recovery and returned to the stage with the help of his bandmates and medical treatment, proving that his passion for music was greater than ever. Unfortunately, he retired from the band in 2021 due to other health problems. On Sept. 4th, 2023, Harwell passed away from acute liver failure. 

Steve Harwell’s death has devastated the music industry and many loyal fans of Smash Mouth. However, it is remembered that his time as Smash Mouth’s main singer exemplifies the lasting influence of music and the effects of a gifted performer. His distinct voice, contagious stage presence, and unrelenting dedication to music have cemented his position in music history and in hearts of music lovers worldwide. 

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Mave Love
Mave Love, Staff Writer

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