Steve Harley dies at 73

Steve Harley has died aged 73.

The news was confirmed by his family in a statement, who said: “We are devastated to announce that our wonderful husband and father has passed away peacefully at home, with his family by his side.”

Harley, who had been receiving cancer treatment, had cancelled a run of shows last year, writing on his website that it was a “heartbreaking” decision.


“It’s tiresome, and tiring. But the fight is on… And thankfully the cursed intruder is not affecting the voice. I sing and play most evenings.”


His family said Harley had “passed away peacefully at home”, adding: “We know he will be desperately missed by people all over the world.”


“Whoever you know him as, his heart exuded only core elements. Passion, kindness, generosity. And much more, in abundance,” his wife Dorothy and children Kerr and Greta wrote in a statement.

“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 grandchildren.”

Born Stephen Nice in south London in 1951, he worked as a journalist on the regional newspapers during the early 1970s.

He formed Cockney Rebel in 1972 with Jean-Paul Crocker, Stuart Elliott, Paul Jeffreys and Milton Reame-James. Their debut album The Human Menagerie was followed by two hit singles, “Judy Teen” and “Mr. Soft”, but the band split.

Harley reformed the band with a new line-up, including Elliott, Jim Cregan, Duncan Mackay and George Ford, and renamed them Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel.

Their first single “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)“, was a UK Number One in 1975; it was followed by their Best Years of Our Lives album that same year.

The band enjoyed one final Top 10 hit – a cover of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” – before Harley set off on a solo career, including two albums in the late 1970s,Hobo With A Grin and The Candidate.

During the ’80s, he had a Top 10 duet with Sarah Brightman on the title song of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom Of The Opera“.

He continued as a solo artist and also with a revived line-up of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. Harley also presented the BBC Radio 2 show Sounds Of The 70s from 1999 to 2008.