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Cockney Rebel Frontman Steve Harley Passes Away At 73

Steve Harley, the lead singer of the British rock band Cockney Rebel, has passed away at the age of 73. His most renowned track, “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me),” soared to the top of the charts in 1975.

Harley, who had been actively touring until recently, had to cancel performances to undergo cancer treatment.

His family said that Harley had “peacefully passed away at home,” expressing, “We know he will be dearly missed by people worldwide.” The London-born artist resided on the Essex-Suffolk border with his wife Dorothy and their two children, Kerr and Greta. His family was with him during his final moments. “Whoever you know him as, his heart exuded only core elements. Passion, kindness, and generosity. And much more, in abundance,” Dorothy, Kerr, and Greta stated. Tributes poured in from the music community. Singer-songwriter Mike Batt, who collaborated with Harley on numerous occasions, described him as a “dear pal” and “lovely guy.”” What a talent. What a character,” he shared on social media.

“My condolences to Dorothy and everyone. RIP, mate.” Harley and Batt collaborated on tracks such as “Ballerina (Prima Donna),” released in 1983, and the 1988 charity single “Whatever You Believe,” featuring Yes lead singer Jon Anderson. Midge Ure, frontman of Ultravox and producer of Harley’s 1982 track “I Can’t Even Touch You,” hailed him as a “true ‘working musician’.”” He toured until he could tour no more, playing his songs for fans old and new,” Ure remarked online. “Our songs live on longer than we ever can.” Born in south London in 1951, Harley formed Cockney Rebel in the early 1970s, comprising Jean-Paul Crocker, drummer Stuart Elliott, bassist Paul Jeffreys, and guitarist Nick Jones.

Their debut album, “The Human Menagerie,” hit shelves in 1973. Other hits included “Here Comes the Sun,” released in 1976. Harley also hosted “Sounds of the 70s” on Radio 2 from 1999 to 2008. Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, expressed the station’s sadness upon hearing the news. “We send our condolences to his family, and our presenters are paying tribute to him on air,” she said.

In December, Harley wrote on his official website about battling cancer and undergoing treatment. He described the first half of 2023 as “magical” due to touring in Europe, but called the latter half “heartbreaking” as the band had to cancel shows post-diagnosis.” It’s tiresome and tiring. But the fight is on,” he wrote. “And thankfully, the cursed intruder is not affecting the voice. I sing and play most evenings.” However, a recent post on his website stated: “Due to ongoing treatment for cancer, Steve cannot commit to any concerts in 2024.”

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