Mar 13

Hüsker Dü: “Love Is All Around (Mary Tyler Moore Show Theme)”

Hüsker Dü -- "Makes No Sense at All"/"Love Is All Around"

It would appear that being wrapped in the webbing of a monstrous spider didn’t faze Hüsker Dü in the least.

There are all sorts of bizarre covers out there, but among the oddest — the ones that you just would never have seen coming — is today’s Cover Friday selection: Hüsker Dü performing the theme song from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, “Love Is All Around.” To quote the song title that was the A-side of the classic 1985 single that the cover appeared as the B-side of, at first glance it “makes no sense at all.” It certainly wouldn’t have been an obvious guess for the band to cover, since Hüsker Dü wasn’t really known previously for a striking sense of humor. (Although one listen to “The Baby Song,” which appeared on 1985’s Flip Your Wig, the album that “Makes No Sense at All” appeared on, and it’s obvious that they most certainly did have one.)

Hüsker Dü (1985)

MTM Theme (1970)

No, to understand the choice of cover here, you have to know where Hüsker Dü called home: the St. Paul/Minneapolis region in Minnesota. And where was the Mary Tyler Moore Show based? That’s right: Minneapolis. So the song is a bit like a Minnesota anthem, and it only made sense for Hüsker Dü to want to show a bit of civic pride, allowing them to lighten up and have a bit of a laugh in the process. And the funny thing is, despite the band’s track record of distortion and Bob Mould’s often screaming lead vocals (for a prime example of that, listen to another of their B-sides, a cover of the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High”), their cover of “Love Is All Around” works remarkably well. You might even go so far as to say that it’s kind of pretty. Or not, depending on your range of tolerance for what qualifies as “pretty.”

Of course, I’m also including the original theme, peformed in 1970 by its writer, Sonny Curtis. Really, once you get past the very dated instrumentation, it’s quite a great little ditty, one of the best TV theme songs. If you grew up watching the show, of course, it means so much more. It’s impossible not to picture MTM tossing her hat up in the air at the end, isn’t it? (You might also note that this version doesn’t actually include the “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” line — I believe this was the first version of the theme, and that other one came later in the series.)

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