Steve Martin Caro, lead singer of the Sixties baroque-pop band the Left Banke, has died at the age of 71.
Caro’s death was first announced on a Left Banke Facebook fan page that both he and surviving members of the group frequented; the group’s Twitter later confirmed the singer’s death, the cause of which was not revealed.
Thank you for the outpour of love and support on behalf of Steve Martin Caro, our voice. He will be missed but not forgotten. Listen to our music today and celebrate an extraordinary individual.
Carmelo Esteban "Steve" Martin Caro 10/12/48-1/14/20#SteveMartinCaro #theleftbanke pic.twitter.com/hQGSo3F3V1
— The Left Banke (@theleftbanke) January 16, 2020
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that Steve has passed away last night. Another great voice has been taken away too early. We will all miss him and all that he gave to the Left Banke,” the page reads.
Caro — who initially performed under the name Steve Martin before adding the “Caro” in the Seventies to differentiate himself from the comedian — is best known as the vocalist on the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee,” a Top Five hit in 1966 and Number 222 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
“Walk Away Renee,” which the Four Tops also turned into a hit, was later credited as the main inspiration for Boston’s Tom Scholz when he wrote that band’s hit “More Than a Feeling.”
The Left Banke followed “Walk Away Renee” with another Top 20 hit, “Pretty Ballerina,” later that year. Caro and the band recorded two albums together before their initial split in 1969; band members would occasionally come together for short-lived reunions over the next 50 years.
In 2014, Rolling Stone named the Left Banke one of the Greatest Two-Hit Wonders of All Time on the strength of their Caro-sung singles, but the band had a lasting impact outside of those two songs: Their 1967 debut album is considered one of the cornerstones of the baroque-pop genre, and that album’s “I Haven’t Got the Nerve” was later sampled in the Folk Implosion’s 1995 hit, “Natural One.”