Compare and Contrast: Wire Vs Ministry

It’s been a while since my last ‘compare and contrast’ post. Years, in fact. And for no reason other than that I got sidetracked, waylayed… yes, stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before.

It was while turning to ‘Mr Suit’ by Wire that I remembered my amazement on first hearing the track. I’d been listening to Ministry for a fair while before I got into Wire, and was immediately struck on listening to Pink Flag that several of the songs sounded familiar. One of these was ‘Mr Suit’, on which one of the hooks sounded almost identical to a line from ‘Thieves’. Now, ‘Thieves’ is a great song in its own right as far as I’m concerned, but such cross-referencing has always been an interest of mine. If you’re going to appropriate, why not lift from something great?

I’m not making any kind of point here, this is simply a case of ‘listen, and observe the similarities’.

Wire: Mr Suit

Ministry: ‘Thieves’

Compare and Contrast: Wire vs Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Ok, so it’s broadly agreed that Wire have been immensely influential and are one of the few bands to have emerged from the punk scene to have been capable of producing genuinely clever and articulate songs. They’ve written a lot of seriously good tunes, too, so it’s small wonder that so many subsequent bands have ripped them off. I’ll be coming to Elastica later, but for now, here’s a compare and contrast with a song by Leeds band Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.

Formed in 1981, The Lorries are generally lumped in with the ’80s ‘goth’ scene on account of their geography and the fact that their original drummer,  Mick Brown, would subsequently leave to form The Mission (although whether or not they were strictly ‘goth’ is questionable, but that’s a whole other matter). Still, whether you consider RLYL goth or simply angry post punk, as I do, the vocal melody on the track ‘Hand on Heart’, from their 1985 debut album Talk About the Weather is undeniably similar to that of Wire’s ‘Reuters’ the first track on their classic 1977 LP Pink Flag.






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Compare and Contrast: Bauhaus vs Hole

It seems only fitting to follow my last compare and contrast which featured Nirvana with a Hole-related compare and contrast. Perhaps even more than Kurt, Courtney Love’s appreciation of punk and new wave was a major influence, given that she was ‘there’ as it were, residing in Liverpool, sharing a place with Julian Cope and befriending Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen at the end of the 1970s and the dawn of the 80s.

There is, of course, a fine line between influence and plagiarism, and the two clips here show just how much Courtney had absorbed Bauhaus’ catalogue when she penned the songs that would appear on the first Hole album.

For the record, I think they’re both great.



Apologies for the lack of moving images with ‘Mrs Jones’: none of the videos I could find had bearable audio, which kinda makes comparison difficult…..



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Compare and Contrast: Nirvana vs The Psychedelic Furs

That Kurt Cobain was a fan of punk and new wave is no secret, and similarly, neither is the fact he was occasionally given to a spot of mild appropriation. Some might call it homage, others plagiarism, and it was the latter perspective that saw Nirvana sued by Killing Joke over ‘Come as You Are’ for its resemblance to the Killing Joke track ‘Eighties’ from the 1982 album of the same title.


I’ll sidestep the subsequent ironic twist which saw Dave Grohl occupy the drum stool for KJ’s 2001 eponymous album here and get down to a lesser know, yet to my ears more obvious lift on the part of the legendary grunge band… check out ‘Sister Europe’ from the 1980 self-titled album by UK post-punk act The Psychedelic Furs and then tell me (honestly) that the guitar line on ‘Big Long Now’, which appears on the Incesticide compilation isn’t just a bit similar…



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Compare and Contrast: The Fall vs Spinal Tap

I’m aware that blogs with video or other visual content tend to receive more traffic and more comments than those without it. Perhaps it’s because, with fewer words, they’re easier to digest for those who prefer their blogs to be less challenging. I’m also aware that it requires less effort, at least in terms of writing, to produce a blog where much of the space is occupied by large pictures or videos. My insistence on text-only blogs to date has been a combination of bloody-mindedness, and an enduring habit of making life hard to myself – and believe me, writing more words with a view to receiving fewer hits really is the epitome of maximum effort for minimum reward.

Anyway, this is the first in an occasional series which places two songs side by side in order to play one of my favourite musical games, compare and contrast. But who is ripping off whom?

Today, we pit The Mighty Fall against the mighty funny Spinal Tap. Enjoy!


Spinal Tap: Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight


The Fall: Athlete Cured

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