Smash Mouth’s Steve Harwell thought ‘All Star’ could be big. ‘Shrek’ made it an earworm.

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When Steve Harwell first heard the demo tape of a music his guitarist had put collectively, the Smash Mouth frontman knew from the primary traces that his band had a observe that could possibly be life-changing:

Some … physique as soon as informed me / The world is gonna roll me. / I ain’t the sharpest software within the shed.

“What the f— is this?” Harwell had requested, he later recalled to Rolling Stone.

The music would ultimately be often called “All Star,” the shock 1999 hit that served as a radio-friendly pop-rock anthem for outcasts and that put the San Jose band on charts all over the world.

“I just knew right away — this thing’s going to be everywhere. It’s going to be played at every basketball game, hockey game,” Harwell recalled to Boston radio station WBUR in 2018. “You’re going to hear ‘All Star’ — just like you always hear ‘Hells Bells’ or ‘Back in Black.’”

However “All Star” earned earworm standing two years after its launch not due to the arenas and stadiums it was performed in. As an alternative, the music soared to new heights when it was featured within the opening of “Shrek,” the 2001 animated comedy about an embittered ogre whose swamp residence has change into overrun by fairy-tale creatures banished by an obsessive ruler. The increase “All Star” bought from “Shrek” would later flip Smash Mouth’s largest music right into a staple of web meme tradition within the 2010s, making it perpetually inescapable.

“We had no clue how big ‘Shrek’ was going to be. We had no clue,” Harwell informed Rolling Stone in 2019, including: “The song was reborn again.”

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Harwell died Monday at 56. The band’s supervisor, Robert Hayes, confirmed Harwell’s passing, which occurred on the singer’s residence in Boise, Idaho, in a press release to media shops and a Fb submit.

Harwell had liver failure and was resting at residence whereas being cared for by his fiancée, Hayes stated Sunday, including: “We would hope people would respect Steve and his family’s privacy during this difficult time.” Harwell introduced his retirement in October 2021 to concentrate on his bodily and psychological well being after a efficiency in Upstate New York, movies of which present him in an apparently disoriented state. He struggled with dependancy over time, resulting in well being problems, together with cardiomyopathy, which ends from a weakening of the guts muscle, that affected his speech and reminiscence, Hayes stated.

“Steve Harwell was a true American Original. A larger than life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle,” Smash Mouth wrote on X, previously often called Twitter. “Steve will be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned determination to reach the heights of pop stardom.” The band nonetheless excursions, with Zach Goode as its lead vocalist.

Though Smash Mouth discovered success in its 1997 debut album, “Fush Yu Mang,” critics puzzled whether or not “Walkin’ on the Sun” would go away the band as a one-hit marvel. On the completion of the group’s second album, “Astro Lounge,” executives at Interscope Data informed Greg Camp, the band’s main songwriter and guitarist, that what Smash Mouth had given the label wasn’t marketable.

“They’re just like, ‘Where’s the hit?’” Camp recalled to WBUR. “‘This isn’t it. You got a second single. You got a third single. Maybe a fourth single. But not a first single. We’re not gonna put this out until you give us something better than this.’”

Camp picked up a Billboard journal and was compelled to ask himself a query he hadn’t needed to ask earlier than: “What do people listen to these days?” As he began to write down, he considered all of the fan mail the band had acquired from younger individuals who stated they had been being bullied. Some had been picked on for the way they dressed, others for merely liking Smash Mouth.

“We were reading a lot of fan mail, back when people actually wrote things on paper,” Camp informed NPR in 2018. “We were reading all these things, and we were like: ‘Man, all these kids had or are having the same problems that we had when we were kids. Let’s do a song.’”

Together with his mission in thoughts, Camp puzzled what the music’s title could possibly be. That’s when he appeared down on the footwear he was carrying — Converse All Stars — and knew what the music can be referred to as. Keyboardist Michael Klooster recounted to in 2017 about how Camp had informed his band members about how he had been engaged on two new songs.

“I remember talking to him, he goes, … ‘There’s one I really like. One I kind of hate, but I think it’s gonna work,’” Klooster stated, referring to “All Star.”

Harwell heard the demo tape Camp had put collectively and knew he may flip it right into a Smash Mouth music — the Smash Mouth music.

“I’m not going to toot my own horn, but nobody else could have sang that song. It would have never been what it is now,” Harwell stated in 2019. “I could’ve pitched that song to a million bands and they would have tried to do it, and it would’ve never been what it is.”

Hailed by critics as “the perfect summer anthem,” Smash Mouth’s “All Star” was seemingly in all places after it was launched in Could 1999: the tops of charts, venues throughout the nation, Main League Baseball’s Residence Run Derby, the Grammy Awards.

“I just said at one point, ‘I think this song will definitely do what the record company wants it to do, but you may potentially fly your band straight into the sun with this song,’” producer Eric Valentine recalled to WBUR. “Because there’s no turning back from this.”

Although “All Star” had appeared in a number of movie soundtracks, Jeffrey Katzenberg, then the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, had a suggestion for what he wished to be performed over the opening of “Shrek.”

“Why don’t you just use ‘All Star’?” Katzenberg requested composer Matt Mahaffey, who labored on “Shrek,” in keeping with the Ringer.

Despite the fact that Mahaffey initially didn’t wish to use a music that was a few years outdated and that was featured in different motion pictures, the choice paid off. The selection to license the music to “Shrek,” which grossed almost $500 million worldwide, was a part of Hayes’s technique to make “All Star” as unavoidable as potential in on a regular basis life.

“I licensed the crap out of that song,” the supervisor informed Rolling Stone. “You could not walk into a grocery store or turn on the television without hearing ‘All Star.’ It was very, very saturated.”

Years after the peak of the music’s success, the primary traces of “All Star” had been morphed right into a meme machine of YouTube posters remixing the 1999 hit for their very own comedic functions. Among the many hottest is a model of “All Star” by which Harwell is singing “somebody” again and again.

Harwell stated in recent times that the band had embraced its standing as meme influencers, acknowledging that he and the opposite bandmates had accepted “All Star” as their legacy.

“At first it was weird, and we were a bit guarded and resistant,” Harwell stated to Polygon in 2017 concerning the memes. “But as we dove into it more and focused on it we started ‘getting it.’”

The Smash Mouth frontman had stated he was fortunate that the band made “one of those songs” that folks can’t get away from.

After Harwell’s dying was introduced Monday, the YouTube person who posted the “somebody” meme video up to date the caption to honor the Smash Mouth singer: “Thanks for singing the greatest song ever made.”

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