One of Nirvana’s huge hits from Nevermind, Come As You Are features a down-tuned riff that bears a heavy resemblance to Killing Joke’s song Eighties. Killing Joke never did the lawsuit thing over the song, but everyone pretty much knew it was the same riff. Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter founder Dave Grohl actually played drums on the band’s 2003 album, which some believe was a penance for knowing that Come As You Are lifted the riff from Eighties.
To make things even more complicated, The Damned’s Life Goes On, which came out in 1982, well before Eighties, includes practically the same chord progression itself. Does that mean Killing Joke AND Nirvana are rip-off artists? Probably not, but all three bands definitely enjoyed that riff.
Come As You Are