(NEW YORK) — The man who co-wrote and sang one of the most famous singles in pop history has reportedly died.
According to TMZ, Gary DeCarlo, lead singer for studio group Steam, lost his battle with cancer at age 75 at a hospital in Connecticut. ABC Radio has been unable to independently confirm reports of DeCarlo’s death.
Steam scored a number-one hit in 1969 with “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” The song’s catchy chorus has since become ubiquitous at sporting events and other gatherings as a tongue-in-cheek way to mock and/or bid farewell to an opponent. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives recently chanted it to their Republican counterparts as the GOP’s healthcare reform bill was passed.
DeCarlo co-wrote the single with fellow studio musician Dale Frashuer and producer Paul Leka, who had co-written and produced the Lemon Pipers’ 1967 hit “Green Tambourine.” “Na Na Hey Hey” was recorded in a single, all-night session at a Manhattan studio.
The single was released under the name Steam, even though there was no such band at the time. When it became a surprise hit, Mercury Records sent a different group of musicians on the road to perform as Steam and filmed a lip-synched promotional video.
“Na Na Hey Hey” has been covered by many artists over the years, including the Supremes. British pop vocal trio Bananarama scored a top-10 hit in the U.K. with their cover version in 1983. The song has also been featured in the football-themed film Remember the Titans as well as TV shows like The Simpsons and various commercials.
DeCarlo included a new version of the single on his 2014 album, Long Time Comin.
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