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

When Steve Harwell first heard the demo tape of a tune his guitarist had put collectively, the Smash Mouth frontman knew from the primary strains that his band had a monitor that might be life-changing:

Some … body once told me / The world is gonna roll me. / I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

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

The tune 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 around the globe.

“I simply knew immediately — this factor’s going to be in every single place. It’s going to be performed at each basketball sport, hockey sport,” Harwell recalled to Boston radio station WBUR in 2018. “You’re going to listen to ‘All Star’ — similar to you at all times hear ‘Hells Bells’ or ‘Again 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 a substitute, the tune soared to new heights when it was featured within the opening of “Shrek,” the 2001 animated comedy about an embittered ogre whose swamp dwelling has turn out to be overrun by fairy-tale creatures banished by an obsessive ruler. The enhance “All Star” received from “Shrek” would later flip Smash Mouth’s greatest tune right into a staple of web meme tradition within the 2010s, making it ceaselessly inescapable.

“We had no clue how large ‘Shrek’ was going to be. We had no clue,” Harwell instructed Rolling Stone in 2019, including: “The tune was reborn once more.”

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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 dwelling in Boise, Idaho, in an announcement to media retailers and a Fb put up.

Harwell had liver failure and was resting at dwelling whereas being cared for by his fiancée, Hayes mentioned Sunday, including: “We might hope folks would respect Steve and his household’s privateness throughout this tough time.” Harwell introduced his retirement in October 2021 to give attention to 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 habit over time, resulting in well being issues, together with cardiomyopathy, which ends from a weakening of the center muscle, that affected his speech and reminiscence, Hayes mentioned.

“Steve Harwell was a real American Authentic. A bigger than life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle,” Smash Mouth wrote on X, previously often called Twitter. “Steve can be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned dedication to achieve 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 Solar” would depart the band as a one-hit surprise. On the completion of the group’s second album, “Astro Lounge,” executives at Interscope Data instructed Greg Camp, the band’s main songwriter and guitarist, that what Smash Mouth had given the label wasn’t marketable.

“They’re similar to, ‘The place’s the hit?’” Camp recalled to WBUR. “‘This isn’t it. You bought a second single. You bought a 3rd single. Perhaps a fourth single. However not a primary single. We’re not gonna put this out till you give us one thing higher than this.’”

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

“We had been studying numerous fan mail, again when folks truly wrote issues on paper,” Camp instructed NPR in 2018. “We had been studying all this stuff, and we had been like: ‘Man, all these children had or are having the identical issues that we had after we had been children. Let’s do a tune.’”

Along with his mission in thoughts, Camp puzzled what the tune’s title might be. That’s when he regarded down on the sneakers he was carrying — Converse All Stars — and knew what the tune could be referred to as. Keyboardist Michael Klooster recounted to in 2017 about how Camp had instructed his band members about how he had been engaged on two new songs.

“I bear in mind speaking to him, he goes, … ‘There’s one I actually like. One I form of hate, however I feel it’s gonna work,’” Klooster mentioned, referring to “All Star.”

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

“I’m not going to toot my very own horn, however no one else might have sang that tune. It might have by no means been what it’s now,” Harwell mentioned in 2019. “I might’ve pitched that tune to 1,000,000 bands and they might have tried to do it, and it could’ve by no means been what it’s.”

Hailed by critics as “the perfect summer anthem,” Smash Mouth’s “All Star” was seemingly in every single place 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 simply mentioned at one level, ‘I feel this tune will certainly do what the report firm desires it to do, however you could probably fly your band straight into the solar with this tune,’” producer Eric Valentine recalled to WBUR. “As a result of there’s no turning again 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 simply 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 tune that was a few years outdated and that was featured in different motion pictures, the choice paid off. The selection to license the tune to “Shrek,” which grossed nearly $500 million worldwide, was a part of Hayes’s technique to make “All Star” as unavoidable as doable in on a regular basis life.

“I licensed the crap out of that tune,” the supervisor instructed Rolling Stone. “You would not stroll right into a grocery retailer or activate the tv with out listening to ‘All Star.’ It was very, very saturated.”

Years after the peak of the tune’s success, the primary strains 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” through which Harwell is singing “someone” again and again.

Harwell mentioned 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 bizarre, and we had been a bit guarded and resistant,” Harwell mentioned to Polygon in 2017 concerning the memes. “However as we dove into it extra and centered on it we began ‘getting it.’”

The Smash Mouth frontman had mentioned he was fortunate that the band made “a type of songs” that individuals can’t get away from.

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

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