Classic Video: Killing Joke

Posted: February 2, 2016 in Classic Videos, Goth, Industrial, New Wave, Post-Punk
Tags: , , ,

If any song could fill a dance floor back in the day it was Killing Joke’s “Eighties.” The relentless beat combined with an infectious guitar riff made it hard to stay in your seat. The video for the song perfectly matched the frantic pace. It features singer Jaz Coleman behind a presidential podium shouting about the struggles of living in the eighties, interspersed with images of religious and political leaders, war, punk rockers, and the frivolous extravagance of the decade. As I was doing a bit of research on the song, I came across an interesting tie it has to Nirvana that almost resulted in a lawsuit.

Released as a single in 1984, “Eighties” would later be included on Killing Joke’s fifth album Night Time. The song didn’t chart in the US but did appear on the soundtrack for the 1985 John Hughes’ movie Weird Science. It also had minor success in the UK, peaking at #60 on the singles chart. The song would come into the spotlight again in 1992, when the band claimed Nirvana plagiarized the riff of the song (at a slowed down pace) for the single “Come as You Are.” There are disputes of whether a lawsuit was ever filed but by 2003 all was forgiven, as Dave Grohl took leave from the Foo Fighters to record with the band. As I listened to both songs, there is a definite similarity but I’ll take “Eighties” over “Come as You Are” any day.

 

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