Luke Morley's new single Killed By Cobain tells the unfortunate story of how Thunder failed to break America

Luke Morley in a suit sitting on some steps
(Image credit: Jason Joyce)

Thunder guitarist Luke Morley has released Killed By Cobain, the first single from his upcoming solo album Songs From The Blue Room. The song reflects on Thunder's failure to break big in America, when the band failed to capitalise on its first success on the Billboard chart, and a short tour in August 1991 was shelved after the headliner failed to sell enough tickets.

Killed By Cobain’ looks back at a strange time in my career when Thunder were on the brink of success in the USA,” says Morley. "We had a single in the Top 50 [Dirty Love actually reached #55 in 1991 - Chart Ed]; we’d sold 250,000 albums and we thought we were off to the races, but then grunge happened and we found ourselves in the deeply unfashionable bucket! 

"The tour we were booked on, opening for David Lee Roth, didn’t sell and we ended up never touring there. So near and yet so far! Fortunately, I can laugh about it now…”

Killed By Cobain, a Tom Petty-esque chugger with a nice Beatles-ish bit kicking in at about the 1'17" mark, begins with Morley reflecting philosophically on his band's unfortunate timing.   

Killed by Cobain in America
Blown out of the water
Moments too late for the gravy train
Turned back at the border

But it’s gonna be alright
I thought I was made but not quite
Now years have passed so don’t even ask
‘Cause it really doesn’t matter no more

After writing Killed by Cobain, Morley realised it wasn't right for Thunder, so used it as the starting point for his first solo album since 2001's El Gringo Retro. 

"It was kind of between Thunder albums and I thought 'I've got these other ideas, maybe I'll do a bit of work on them," says Morley. “Not with any purpose, really, but then with a bit of encouragement from people around me – close friends and my missus saying 'This is really good, there's an album there' – I thought ok, I'll try and make an album. That's really how it came about."

Songs from The Blue Room is set for release on June 23, with signed editions available to pre-order from Luke Morley's music store.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.