Bob Mould on Husker Du's cover of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' theme


Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore in 1969, one year before the debut of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. (Dove/Stringer/Getty Images)

"It was freezing cold," Mary Tyler Moore, who died yesterday at the age of 80, once told WHYY's Fresh Air of filming the iconic opening sequence to her beloved Mary Tyler Moore Show. "It was in Minneapolis in January, I think."

Harrowing words to those who know the feeling, the frozen skin, of Minneapolis in January – those like Bob Mould, guitarist and singer of the seminal and equally (to some) looming Husker Du.

Mould, drummer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton covered "Love Is All Around," the The Mary Tyler Moore Show's opening song — originally written and recorded by former Buddy Holly collaborator Sonny Curtis — in their singular, serrated and foundationally "alternative" sound.

"The original version was recorded in earnest," Bob Mould wrote to NPR Music in the wake of Moore's death. "It's a great song, and it was a nice tribute to the band's home town." Mould says the song now serves him well as an "uplifting" encore during solo sets. "People always respond well when I play it."

Husker Du also spoofed the opening sequence itself, trying "to mimic the shots as best we could," vamping along the Nicollet Mall, where a statue of Moore throwing her cap in the air, with liberating abandon — the sequence's closing shot — was placed for many years. (It was removed, temporarily, in 2015.)

A rep for Merge Records, Mould's current label home, says he performed the song this past November in North Carolina just after the presidential election – and immediately following an expletive-filled, Reagan-themed lament of significant emotional verve.

Husker Du's clip, much like Moore's character in her show and the population of Minneapolis more generally, is scrappy, charming and progressive.

"All good art is political. Great art is political and entertaining," writes Mould. "Let's hope her legacy will live on, especially in these oppressive days."

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