I don’t want my weekly song post to turn into an obituary thread, but the world of popular music lost another significant member this week with the passing of Hüsker Dü drummer and song-writer Grant Hart. Like a lot of great bands, Hüsker Dü thrived on the contrast and competition between two members – Grant Hart had the boyish voice and poppy tunes that complemented the growly punk of guitarist Bob Mould.
Hüsker Dü’s breakthrough album was 1984’s Zen Arcade, a sprawling double LP where the group pushed against the boundaries of the hardcore punk genre where they’d launched their career. The first sign of non-orthodoxy on Zen Arcade was its third track, Hart’s ‘Never Talking To You Again’, with Hart and Mould’s voices interweaving and tense, and only accompanied by acoustic guitar.
‘Never Talking To You Again’ is only one of the many great songs that Grant Hart wrote in Hüsker Dü. ‘Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill’, ‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’, ‘Books About UFOs’, ‘Green Eyes’, and ‘She Floated Away’ are all pop treasures that incinerate when played by Hart, Mould, and Greg Norton. Grant Hart was a gifted pop song writer who could have reached a wider audience, and his passing at the age of 56 has left me a little tender this week.