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Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel & ‘Make Me Smile’ Singer, Dies at 73

Steve Harley, the frontman of British rock band Cockney Rebel, has died. He was 73.

The English singer-songwriter’s family confirmed the news of his passing through social media on Sunday (March 17).

“We are devastated to announce that Steve, our wonderful husband, father and grandfather, has passed away peacefully at home, with his family by his side,” reads the statement on Facebook. “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 beloved Grandchildren.”

A cause of death was not provided, but Harley noted on his website earlier this year that he would not be touring in 2024 “due to on-going treatment for cancer.”

“Steve took enormous comfort from all of his fans’ well wishes during his battle, and we know he would want to thank you all deeply for your love and support throughout his career, and during his battle to the end,” his family’s statement said. “We know he will be desperately missed by countless friends, family and devoted fans all over the world, and we ask that you respectfully allow us privacy to grieve.”

Harley is perhaps best known for Cockney Rebel’s 1975 hit “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me),” which topped the U.K. charts. The London-born musician joined Cockney Rebel in 1972 and the glam rock band released its debut album, The Human Menagerie, the following year. The group went on to release The Psychomodo in 1974 and later renamed itself Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel following lineup changes.

Although “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” was not a hit in the U.S. (the song peaked at No. 98 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1976), the track has been covered more than 100 times by artists including Duran Duran, Erasure and Robbie Williams.

After Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel parted ways in 1977, Harley enjoyed a solo career, with his final release being the 2020 covers album, Uncovered, which featured renditions of songs by David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and others.

See the announcement from Harley’s family about his passing on X below.

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