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Eighties by Killing Joke

Album: Night TimeReleased: 1984Charted:
  • Killing Joke lead singer Jaz Coleman wrote the lyrics to this song, which were inspired by the 1871 novel The Coming Race by the English writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton. (A line in the lyric directly references the title: "I'm in love with the coming race.")

    The book is about an undiscovered race that lives underground and has attained extraordinary powers. In our interview with Coleman, he explained the song's meaning, stating: "It was looking forward to the trans-human future that is upon us now."
  • This song was written in a farmhouse in Switzerland that the band first came across when they played two shows in Geneva in 1983. They loved it there, and the house became a regular getaway for the band members. On one such excursion, they came up with this track. Coleman remembers going up stairs to Geordie Walker's room and hearing him play the guitar riff for the first time. "When he knocked that riff out, it was so memorable, it kind of embodied everything that was happening at that time," Coleman told us.
  • Nirvana copied the guitar riff on their 1991 hit "Come As You Are." It's a pretty blatant rip-off and Killing Joke considered legal action, but after Kurt Cobain died, they dispensed with any thoughts of a lawsuit. Dave Grohl and Jaz Coleman later became good friends, and Grohl played drums on the 2003 self-titled Killing Joke album.
  • The video was directed by Anthony Van Den Ende, who did the A Flock of Seagulls clips for "I Ran (So Far Away)" and "Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)." In the video, Jaz Coleman is shown as an authoritarian political figure speaking in front of both Russian and American flags.

    Coleman wanted an array of video footage related to the decade incorporated into the clip, so Van Den Ende gathered shots of various political figures and shot other random footage to go with it, including a dog wedding and a shot of Coleman's melting face. The Killing Joke fans were shot waiting outside of a show at the Hammersmith.
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