Ten Great Songs Written by Grant Hart

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Like a lot of people that didn’t know him personally, I was shocked when Grant Hart died on the 13th. The goofy, boyish, frequently barefoot drummer/co-singer of the incomparable Husker Du wrote such carefree and lilting melodies and sang with such exuberance that it seemed impossible for him to age, let alone get sick.

I could write a heartfelt piece about my relationship with Husker Du, which started when I was in high school, and then really clicked into place when I was in college. Ultimately, that would be an article about me, and that’s not an article about Grant Hart.

Though Hart’s increasingly numerous contributions to Husker Du’s oeuvre was one of about a thousand reasons that the band ultimately split up, Hart developed into a graceful and mature songwriter, providing a perfect counterpoint to Bob Mould’s acerbic and personal love songs. Even if Mould didn’t necessarily think so.

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The band was only active from about 1979-1988, but in that time, they changed the dynamic of punk rock forever. Hart’s jackhammer drum fills and incredible speed (all while singing half the songs) were part of Husker Du’s signature sound, but his (and Mould’s) songwriting were really what made the band gel. Marrying hardcore punk to Beatles-esque choruses, Husker Du showed that there could be melody lurking underneath all that fury and noise.

Bob Mould puts on a great live show, and even played a few songs from his old band when I saw him a few years ago, but the interplay between Mould’s low growl and Hart’s higher-pitched vocals is one of the things that made Husker Du such an effective group. Now that dynamic is lost forever. Hart wrote a lot of songs that are worthy of inclusion on a “best of” list, so I encourage you to use the following entries as a jumping-off point.

I’m sure I’m not alone in taking this one extremely hard. This one really burns. Let’s celebrate the life of Grant Hart and his major contributions to the word of alternative music.  R.I.P.

1. Diane 

2. Pink Turns To Blue

3. Somewhere

4. Books About UFOs

5. The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill

6. Green Eyes

7. Keep Hanging On

8. Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely

9. Charity, Chastity, Prudence, And Hope

10. She Floated Away

Photo credit: By 99thFloor (granthart) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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