Steve Harley Dead at 73

( – English singer and songwriter Steve Harley has died at the age of 73 after a short battle with cancer, for which he had been receiving treatment. His family released a statement which confirmed that he died at home surrounded by his loved ones on Sunday, March 17.

Harley shot to fame with his band Cockney Rebel with the chart-topping song “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” in 1975, although he would later go on to explain that he wrote the song as a jab at his former bandmates after the original Cockney Rebel split up over a disagreement about who could write their songs.

The band’s original line-up had enjoyed a successful career through the first half of the seventies, performing well in the London music scene with their unusual blend of musical styles, but in July 1974, some members of the band asked Harley to let them act as songwriters. Harley was adamant that he would be the only songwriter, saying that that had been the deal when he formed the band, and that it was working well for them. The band went their separate ways, with just Harley and drummer Stuart Elliott remaining. The pair formed a new lineup later that year and released “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” which hit the top spot in the UK singles chart.

Harley enjoyed a long music career both with his band Cockney Rebel and as a solo artist, and hosted a popular British radio show, “Sounds of the Seventies” on the BBC from 1999 to 2008. Harley had been touring his act “Steve Harley Acoustic Band” up until December 2023, when he announced a break from performing live shows while he underwent treatment for cancer, a decision he described as “heartbreaking”. His family described him as a kind and generous man who would be missed by many. Harley is survived by wife Dorothy, daughters Kerr and Greta, and his four grandchildren.

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