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Yes, Smash Mouth Has Seen The 'All Star' Memes

Smash Mouth's hit single "All Star" has inspired countless Internet memes since its 1999 release.
Jay Blakesberg
Courtesy of the artist
Smash Mouth's hit single "All Star" has inspired countless Internet memes since its 1999 release.

"All Star" but the only lyric is "somebody," over and over again.

"All Star" but it's played on the literal sharpest tool in the shed.

"All Star" but it's a Bach chorale following the conventions of the common-practice period.

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of variations of Smash Mouth's "All Star" on the Internet. The song seems like it was made to be remixed, mashed-up and squeezed through the meme machine. "All Star" variants are a staple of meme culture. When you search "All Star but..." on YouTube, you'll get back over a quarter-million results. So. Many. Memes.

And to answer the age-old question: Yes. Smash Mouth has heard them. Lead vocalist Steve Harwell says the band took notice because it was hard not to. People are constantly posting the videos to the band's social media pages.

The '90s-era ska-punk staples are reliving the song's original reverie, along with other hits like "Walkin' On The Sun," by releasing a new acoustic version of the band's 1997 debut album Fush Yu Mang.

"People are really diggin' it on the Internet and social media," Harwell says. "We're kind of the thing right now."

"All Star" was originally released in 1999 as a self-affirmation anthem and anti-bullying rally cry. "We were reading a lot of fan mail, back when people actually wrote things on paper," guitarist Greg Camp says. "We were reading all these things, and we were like, 'Man, all these kids had or are having the same problems that we had when we were kids. Let's do a song.' "

But the band doesn't seem to mind the meme fun. NPR played them one (which shall remain unnamed) that Camp called the worst he's ever heard. Camp's recent favorite somehow (allegedly) sounds like the Russian national anthem. "It's pretty amazing, actually," he says.

Harwell hasn't heard it.

"Are you guys living in a cave?" Camp asks.

We ask the same of anyone else who claims not to have heard an "All Star" meme.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.
Emily Abshire (she/they) is an assistant producer for NPR One. She makes day-to-day programming and production decisions about the content in the NPR One app and collaborates with the newsroom to optimize audio stories for platforms beyond radio. She also hand-curates NPR One's ethical news algorithm that powers the app and is used on voice platforms. Along with other members of the NPR One team, Abshire works to envision fresh news experiences on emerging platforms, such as voice assistants and smart speakers.