Steve Harley, who had a hit with ‘Make Me Smile,’ dies at 73

Steve Harley, Iconic Singer of ‘Make Me Smile’ Fame, Passes Away at 73

Steve Harley, the iconic British musician known for leading the glam-rock band Cockney Rebel, has passed away at the age of 73. His family shared the news, stating that he died peacefully at his home, surrounded by loved ones. Harley had disclosed last year that he was battling a severe form of cancer.

Harley’s journey began in London in 1951. A challenging childhood saw him spending nearly four years in hospital due to polio. It was during these times that he found solace in reading and writing poetry. Before his music career took off, Harley worked as a trainee accountant and a journalist for local newspapers. His musical journey started in the folk clubs of London.

Cockney Rebel was formed by Harley and quickly made a mark with their debut album, “The Human Menagerie,” in 1973. However, the band faced internal conflicts and split up. Harley then reformed the group with a new lineup, renaming it Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. This iteration of the band released “The Best Years of Our Lives” in 1975, featuring the hit song “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me).” Produced by Alan Parsons, the song, with its memorable chorus and sharp lyrics directed at Harley’s former bandmates, soared to the top of the U.K. singles chart. It has been covered numerous times and featured in various soundtracks and advertisements.

Harley’s talents also led him to sing the title track of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Phantom of the Opera” with Sarah Brightman in 1986. Although initially cast in the lead role for the stage production, he was later replaced by Michael Crawford.

Midge Ure, the Ultravox frontman who produced Harley’s 1982 track “I Can’t Even Touch You,” praised him as a “true ‘working musician.'” Ure highlighted Harley’s dedication to touring and performing for his fans until he no longer could. He expressed his condolences to Harley’s wife Dorothy, their children Kerr and Greta, and their four grandchildren, acknowledging the deep loss felt by Harley’s family and fans worldwide.

Steve Harley’s legacy is marked by his contributions to music and the enduring love of his fans. His family’s statement reflects the sentiment that he will be “desperately missed by people all over the world.”