SHELTON, Conn. — Gary DeCarlo of Shelton, who was the singer on the hit song "Na-Na, Hey-Hey-Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," died Wednesday from lung cancer at age 75, according to a close friend and multiple media reports.
The song was originally a B-side for the single "Sweet Laura Lee." But "Hey-Hey-Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" became a surprise hit when a DJ in Georgia played it and requests for it flooded the station. The single made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1969.
The song was attributed to the band Steam, although at the time there was no band with that name. The band on the cover of the single and that performed the song on a promotional video were hired for their image. The singer in the video was lip-synching DeCarlo’s lead vocal. The “fake” Steam band went on tour and performed live.
Steam dissolved in 1970 due to DeCarlo’s unhappiness with the false aspect of the band. DeCarlo told the website classicbands.com in an interview, “People don't like to be fooled."
“You're paying money to go out and see these guys perform and they're not the real deal. So obviously I walked away from it," he said.
The song has become a popular anthem at sports events, especially when a visiting team loses a game to the home side.
In 2014, DeCarlo released the album “Long Time Comin,’” which included a new version of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."
DeCarlo had been battling cancer, which had spread throughout his body. A year ago, friends started a GoFundMe to help pay his medical expenses.
DeCarlo posted updates about his health to Facebook.
About two months ago he posted, "Hey everybody, so far things are are looking and feeling much better. These people are amazing. Tomorrow I get radiation to zap the tumor on my spine that just shot up in the past month and the one on my lung. Thanks for all the support."
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