Single Name: Come As You Are B-Side: Endless, Nameless/School (live)/Drain You (live) Released: 2 March 1992 (UK), 3 March 1992 (US)
Wary of the similarity between the main riff of "Come as You Are" and English post-punk band Killing Joke's 1984 single "Eighties", Nirvana and its management were unsure about releasing the song as the second single from Nevermind. Danny Goldberg, head of Nirvana's management Gold Mountain, later revealed that "We couldn't decide between 'Come as You Are' and 'In Bloom.' Kurt was nervous about 'Come as You Are' because it was too similar to a Killing Joke song . . . but we all thought it was still the better song to go with. And, he was right, Killing Joke later did complain about it."
Nirvana biographer Everett True writes that "Come as You Are" was eventually chosen for release as a single because "Goldberg favoured the more obviously commercial song". It was anticipated that the first single from Nevermind, "Smells Like Teen Spirit", would be a "base-building alternative cut", while "Come as You Are" would be able to cross over into other radio formats. However, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" became a surprise hit and boosted the band's popularity, whereas "Come as You Are" served to maintain it.
After its release as a single in March 1992, "Come as You Are" peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100; it was the band's second and last American Top 40 hit. The single stayed on the chart for 18 weeks. The song also reached number three on the Billboard Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks charts. The single also broke the UK top 10, peaking at the ninth spot. This song ranked number 82 in Blender's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born", and 452nd on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
Although members of Killing Joke claimed the main guitar riff of "Come as You Are" plagiarized the riff of "Eighties", the band reportedly did not file a copyright infringement lawsuit, which Rolling Stone magazine attributes to "personal and financial reasons". However, conflicting reports state that Killing Joke did file a lawsuit but that it was either thrown out of court, or that it was dropped following Cobain's death. Geordie Walker, Killing Joke's guitar player, said that the band was "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!"
(00:00) 1. Come As You Are (03:42) 2. Endless, Nameless (10:29) 3. School (13:06) 4. Drain You