The Death of Music

Recently, three musical stars have unfortunately passed away, but how does it affect us?
What used to be the heart of music turns to ashes.
What used to be the heart of music turns to ashes.
Photography, Madisyn Ahne

Steven (Steve) Scott Harwell, Jimmy Buffet, and William Perry Jr. all passed away recently, and all three of them heavily impacted the musical and pop culture world. Now is the time to reminisce upon their incredible lives, and their music.


Steve Harwell was born in Santa Clara, California, on January 9th, 1967. He began as a rapper in San Jose, California with F.O.S. (Freedom of Speech). After the group disbanded, he began work with drummer Kevin Coleman in 1990, as well as guitarist Greg Camp, and later on, bassist Paul Delisle. The hit band Smash Mouth was born in 1994. Two of their their most popular songs: “All Star” and “I’m a Believer” (originally by The Monkees), were featured in the 2001 movie Shrek, which propelled them to triple platinum. Local student Nolan Hagler said Harwell was “very inspirational.” In 2013, Harwell was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and wernicke encephalopathy, and in addition to this, he also struggled with alcoholism, all of which contributed to his retirement in 2021. On September 4th, 2023 in Boise, Idaho, Steven passed away from liver failure.


Jimmy Buffet was born on Christmas Day, 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi and he was raised in Mobile, Alabama. When he was younger, sailor stories from his father and grandfather inspired him. He began playing guitar in college to impress girls and released his first record “Down to Earth” in 1970 with Billboard Magazine. In the 1970s, Key West was full of con men, which was inspiring to Jimmy; he went on to write inspiring music about wanderers, adventurers, and the forlorn. Senior Kat Weaver says Buffet’s music reminds her of “carefree vacation and being in the sun,” which was a popular feeling among surveyed students. In 1977, Buffet released “Margaritaville”, a song about escapism and tropical life; about a decade later, the entrepreneurship of the Margaritaville hotels, restaurants, and retirement communities began. On September 1st, 2023 in Sag Harbor, Long Island, at 76 years old, Jimmy Buffet died of skin cancer. He had 27 studio albums, 3 New York Times best-selling books, a Broadway play, movie and television appearances, Grammy nominations, as well as Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards. Buffet is survived by a large family and his dogs.


William Perry Jr., better known as DJ Casper, was born on May 31st, 2023, in Chicago Illinois. He was called Casper because he often wore monochrome white on stage. Most know him as the artist who wrote the “Cha Cha Slide”, which is a recognized gem of music; Hagler agreed, “If you don’t know the Cha Cha Slide, you didn’t have a childhood.” The song was originally recorded as an aerobics exercise for Caspers’ nephew, who was a personal trainer. These days, the song is a staple of weddings, parties, and most any social gathering with dancing. Unfortunately, DJ Casper passed away on August 7th, 2023 at age 58, in Hazel Crest, Illinois from kidney and liver cancer.


These stars had an impact on many all over the world, known as symbols of childhood and nostalgia, and they will be dearly missed.

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