Grant Hart Dies; Rock Legend Was 56

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Sad news out of the music world today, as multiple outlets are reporting that Grant Hart, drummer for the legendary punk band Husker Du, has passed away at the age of 56.

Reps for the band say Hart had been battling cancer.

Grant Hart Photo

Though the members of Husker Du went their separate ways following a bitter breakup in 1989, they recently reunited to promote Savage Young Du, a three-disc compilation of the band's early work.

It's nearly impossible to overstate Husker Du's impact on the indie rock and grunge scenes of the late '80s and early '90s.

Icons such as Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Billy Corgan, and Ryan Adams have all cited the group as among their most profound influences.

As co-songwriter on some of Husker Du's best-loved hits ("The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill" and "Turn on the News") Hart was an instrumental force in shaping the band's signature sound.

With eccentric lyrics on titles such as "Diane" and "Books About UFOs," Hart arguably did more than any individual songwriter to expand the range of punk rock's subject matter.

Grant Hart Image

Never content with genre labels, Husker Du continually cast off labels and expectations, forever surprising fans with experimental takes on old material, such as their groundbreaking cover of The Byrds' 1967 hit, "Eight Miles High."

Through it all, Grant Hart was at the forefront, pushing his bandmates and contemporaries to take their art in bold new directions.

Countless fans, friends and fellow musicians have paid tribute to Hart in the hours since news of his death went public.

And one tribute in particular has justly gone viral.

On Facebook, Hart's bandmate Bob Mould recalled their first meeting and the subsequent decades of their often-turbulent relationship, writing:

"The next nine years of my life was spent side-by-side with Grant. We made amazing music together. We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world.

"When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life. It was an amazing decade.

Grant Hart Pic

"We stopped working together in January 1988. We went on to solo careers, fronting our own bands, finding different ways to tell our individual stories.

"We stayed in contact over the next 29 years — sometimes peaceful, sometimes difficult, sometimes through go-betweens. For better or worse, that’s how it was, and occasionally that’s what it is when two people care deeply about everything they built together."

Mould concluded:

"Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember."

"Godspeed, Grant. I miss you. Be with the angels."

It's a sentiment that's echoed by thousands of rock fans today.

Our thoughts go out to Grant Hart and his family as they mourn the loss of a legend.

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