Behind the Band Name: Hüsker Dü

Whether the name rings a bell or not, Hüsker Dü was an important band. In fact, much is owed to the genre-defining punk rock outfit of 1980s acclaim.

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Equipped with a hardcore style that harbored pop sensibilities, the band had a pioneering sound that can be heard echoing in the pop-punk of modern day. Armed also with an uncompromising attitude and unshakable artistic integrity, Hüsker Dü would unknowingly provide a blueprint for bands to come. That is why there comes a time when every band must ask, What would Hüsker Dü?

Behind the Name

The Minnesota-formed band—made up of guitarist Bob Mould, bassist Greg Norton, and drummer Grant Hart—began playing together in 1979 under the name Buddy and the Returnables.

That name would soon change when, according to Michael Azerrad’s 2001 book, Our Band Could Be Your Life, the band was fiddling around with the Talking Heads’ 1977 hit, “Psycho Killer,” during rehearsal. They were parodying the song’s iconic breakdown, which is sung in French.

Ce que j’ai fait, ce soir-là / Ce qu’elle a dit, ce soir-là / Réalisant mon espoir / Je me lance, vers la gloire, the Talking Heads sing, but the trio was instead throwing around any foreign sayings they could remember. Someone barked, “Husker Du!,” and it stuck, becoming their own whimsical, sing-song moniker.

Husker Du was a children’s memory-based board game popular in the 1970s. Pronounced hOOsker dOO, the game’s name is Norwegian and means “Do you remember?” The trio added heavy metal umlauts to u’s.

Hüsker Dü Today

Hüsker Dü went their separate ways in 1988, calling it quits after almost a decade together. In that time, they amassed a number of underground successes from their six studio albums. While throughout their career they were no more than cult favorites, their music would leave a mark that is still distinguishable in the punk music of today.

Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

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