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Cockney Rebel's Steve Harley dies

Photo: cc Mark Kent


R.I.P. Steve Harley. The journalist turned musician passed away over the weekend about a month after revealing that he had begun undergoing treatment for cancer. An acoustic troubadour during the early 1070's, Harley played London clubs and bars and did a stint as the rhythm guitarist in a folk band named Odin. Harley and fellow Odin member Jean-Paul Crocker would later combine with three others in Cockney Rebel. EMI eventually signed the band. An early recording became moderately big in parts of Europe but failed to gain much traction in England.

The Psychomodo, a 1974 release produced with assistance from Alan Parsons fared much better. Harley would return the favor by singing lead on The Voice, one of Parsons' best-known songs from his 1977 I Robot album. In the late 70's, Harley released solo albums that were moderately successful. He penned some songs Rod Stewart recorded on his Foolish Behavior album and also worked with Rick Wakeman.

Harley was also involved in the London production of The Phantom of the Opera. Andrew Lloyd Weber was so impressed with Harley singing the title song that Harley got invited to audition for the title role. He had a five month run playing the Phantom.

He remained musically active on multiple fronts in recent decades.