killing-joke

10
  1. Brian Bolland himself
  2. Original «Killing Joke» (1988) cover by Brian Bolland
  3. BTAS style art by JackSkelling10
  4. Judge Dredd Megazine #211 (2003) by Frazer Irving
  5. All Hail Megatron #1 (2008) by Casey Coller
  6. Booster Gold v2 #5 (2008) by Dan Jurgens
  7. Darkwing Duck Annual #1 (2011) by James Silvani
  8. Wonderland #3 (2012) by Sean Chen 
  9. Harley’s Killing Joke by memorypalace
  10. Joker (from Death of the Family) by Spidertof

4

The Strange Tale of The Riff That Wouldn’t Die

I bet most of you have heard grunge pioneers Nirvana`s 1992 single “Come As You Are”, included in their second studio album “Nevermind”. The similarity between the main guitar riff of this song and the one in British post-punk band Killing Joke`s 1984 single called “Eighties” caused serious conflict between the two bands.

    Geordie Walker, Killing Joke`s guitarist, stated:

“…We were very pissed off about that, but it’s obvious to everyone. We had two separate musicologists’ reports saying it was. Our publisher sent their publisher a letter saying it was and they went ‘Boo, never heard of ya!’, but the hysterical thing about Nirvana saying they’d never heard of us was that they’d already sent us a Christmas card!…”

But were they the only ones involved in this?Strangely enough, the same riff appeared in “22 Faces” by the Norwegian new wave/goth band Garden Of Delight in an 1984 recording, as well as in “Life Goes On”, a song by the forerunners of the gothic genre Damned, from their 1982 album “Strawberries”.In the words of Plunder The Tombs blog:

“…Does that sound familiar? It should, because it’s extremely close to the riff used by Nirvana on their 1991 single “Come as You Are”.Yes! That riff! The one Killing Joke threatened to sue them (Nirvana) for ripping off their 1985 song “Eighties”. A threat of legal action that must have taken considerable chutzpah, considering that not only did Garden of Delight beat Killing Joke to it by a year, but also, that the riff seems to have originally come from the 1982 song “Life Goes On” by The Damned, who so far have been very nice indeed in not threatening to sue anyone…”

Listen to the songs to judge for yourself:

“Life Goes On”- The Damned (1982)

“Eighties” - Killing Joke (1984)

“22 Faces” - Garden Of Delight (1984)

“Come As You Are” - Nirvana (1992)