Nirvana vs. Killing Joke


Thanks to Ari for this one.
Nirvana‘s second hit single off Nevermind might have seemed a bit familiar to many of those who grew up in the eighties. That haunting riff complete with chorus effect has a striking resemblance to Killing Joke‘s 1984 hit Eighties. According to Rolling Stone Kurt Cobain was apparently nervous about the release of this track as a single. Killing Joke sued Nirvana and eventually dropped the lawsuit.

Have a listen for yourself:

Nirvana - "Come as You Are" (1992)

Killing Joke - "Eighties" (1984)

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6 Replies to “Nirvana vs. Killing Joke”

  1. Phil

    Kurt also used to mention quiet often that the riff on ‘Smells like teen spirit’ was ripped off Bostons ‘More than a Feeling’……I have always found it also very similar to the riff in transvision vamps ‘Baby I don’t Care’ which came out about 3 years before ‘Teen spirt’

  2. Keith Post author

    @Phil: Strange that Cobain would feel that way about “More than a Feeling”. To me it’s more of the guitar rhythm than anything. The verse of the Transvision Vamp track (1989) on the other hand bears a striking resemblance to The Bangles’ “Manic Monday” (1986).

  3. Melanie

    Even before that, there was “Life Goes On” by The Damned, which I believe came out in 1980. While not as similar as these two are to each other, with a much different rhythm, it’s still fairly close.

  4. Stephan

    All Day And All Of The Nights (The Kinks, round Nov. 1964) stolen by The Doors as “Hello I Love You” round July 1968. The latter can’t be considered as a plagiarism…


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