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 As providers of perverse, throwaway, three-minute pop-song manna, though, the KLF were Punk Rock, The Renaissance, Andy Warhol and Jesus Christ all rolled into one.

Splendid Magazine

 This is what KLF is about, also known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, further more known as the JAMs...

...as well as The Timelords, Disco 2000, 2K, K2 Plant Hire, The K Foundation and of course The One World Orchestra Featuring the Massed Pipes And Drums of the Children’s Free Revolutionary Volunteer Guards.

Comprising Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, the group achieved their greatest success in the period 1989-92, when they were known as The KLF and were associated with a style they called Stadium House (basically, Acid House with pop/rock production and sampled noises from cheering crowds). However, they also dabbled in other genres, usually Electronic Music (ambient, various house subgenres, techno, alternative dance), and became infamous for their satirical media stunts. For instance, when they were sued for unlicensed Sampling by ABBA, they responded by torching copies of 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?) in a field (a photo of this became the cover of their next album).

To read up on a complete histroy of the group, the best place to start would be the band's Wikipedia Entry.

Discography

Studio albums

  • 1987 (What the Fuck is Going On?) (1987) [1]
    • most copies have been destroyed, the rest are collector's items.
  • Who Killed The JAMs? (1988) [2]
  • Chill Out (1990)
  • The White Room (1991)

Non-Album singles

  • "Whitney Joins The JAMs" (1987) [3]
  • "I Gotta CD" (1987) [4]
  • "One Love Nation" (1988) [5]
  • "Doctorin' the Tardis" (1988) [6]
  • "What Time is Love? (Pure Trance)" (1988)
  • "Uptight" (1989) [7]
  • "3 A.M. Eternal (Pure Trance)" (1989)
  • "Kylie Said the Jason" (1989)
    • The Lead-off Single from the Original 1989 version of The White Room
  • "It's Grim Up North" (1991) [8]
    • The Lead-off Single from the Original techno-metal version of The Black Room
  • "Justified & Ancient (Stand by The JAMs)" (1991)
  • "America: What Time Is Love?" (1992)
  • "K Cera Cera" (1993) [9]
  • "The Magnificent" (1995 - Appeared on the charity album The Help Album) [10]
  • "***K The Millennium" (1997) [11]

Other Records

  • The Man (1986) (Bill Drummond's solo record, released a year before forming the KLF. A Scottish Folk album.)
  • 1987: The JAMs 45 Edits (Basically 1987 (What the Fuck is Going On?) with all of the unauthorised samples removed)
  • Shag Times (1989) (a collection of non-album singles & remixes)
    • Released in the United States as The History of The JAMs a.k.a. The Timelords.
  • The "What Time is Love?" Story (1989) (compilation album of various "What Time is Love?" knock-offs)
  • Space (1990) (Jimmy Cauty's solo album, made from scrap parts from the orignal version of The Orb's debut album)
  • Waiting for the Rights of Mu (1997) (The audio from the Home Video releases Waiting and The Rites Of Mu)
    • Presumed to be a bootleg, but was sold through normal retail channels for a while.

Videos

  • Waiting (1990)
  • The Stadium House Trilogy (1991) (A collection of all three "Stadium House" singles Music Videos)
  • The Rites Of Mu (1991)
  • Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid (1995) [12]
  • Pissing in the Wind (Footage of Bill, Jimmy, and Mark Hawker Pissing in the wind.) [13]
  • This Brick (4 minutes of a still picture of a brick made from the ashes of the million pounds burned.) [14]

Unreleased Items

  • The White Room (1989)
    • Both a film (which was never finished) and an unreleased album. Both circulate online.
  • The Black Room (~1990-91) [15]
    • Described by Bill Drummond as "Megadeth with drum machines." Only song released from this version was "It's Grim Up North".
  • The Black Room (~1992) [16]



The group provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: They never did find the white room, or finish the film, or stage that art exhibition, or build the people's pyramid, or fuck the millennium...
  • Arc Symbol: Sheep
    • They were the audience to the only showing of the unreleased White Room film.
    • On the Cover of Chill Out
    • This image, which appeared in The White Room album liner notes. (If you can't read the caption, it says "Why sheep?")
    • A dead one was thrown into the 1992 Brits aftershow.
  • Arc Number: 23. [17]
    • Their first single "All You Need is Love" was released with the Catalog number "JAMS 023"
    • It was 23 years between the release of Tammy Wynette's single 'Stand by Your Man' and her appearance in 'Justified & Ancient'
    • Jimmy and Bill won't discuss the reason why they burnt £1 million for 23 years
    • Their reunion as 2K in 1997 lasted for Exactly 23 minutes.
  • All There in the Manual: well, as far as the Timelords episode goes, anyway.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears: As the norm for early 90s Euro-Dance, a rapper (either Ricardo Da Force or Isaac Bello) appears on their most popular hits.
  • Black Sheep Hit: Doctorin' The Tardis was essentially an attempt to invoke this deliberately. And It Worked. They were never able to duplicate its success though, although they did have several other fairly large hits later in their career.
  • Boastful Rap: Frequently, from their debut "All You Need Is Love" onwards ("We're the hottest MCs on the River Clyde!")
  • Book Ends: The White Room begins with Black Steel singing the album version of Justified And Ancient but he gets cut off after the first verse. At the end of the album, he gets to finish singing the song.
  • Canon Dis Continuity: Their entire back catalog.
  • Censored Title: ***K The Millennium. They were never going to get away with it uncensored, but at least they got to choose which letter survived.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: 1987 (What The Fuck Is Going On?) was pulled from the market due to having a massive amount of unauthorized Sampling. In response, the band released 1987 (The JAMs 45 Edits), which consisted of all of the original material from the album with long stretches of silence where the samples were. The liner notes cited what samples would have been there, and suggested the listener could use this information to replicate the original version of the album themselves. This edited version of the album had such a small amount of actual music on it that it was formally classified as a 12 inch single.
  • Concept Album: Chill Out is the soundtrack to a road trip in the Southern US.
    • The first half of The White Room (Side A on vinyl) represents the group playing a live show.
  • Cool Car: The Jamsmobile (aka Ford Timelord), claimed to be an ex-stuntcar and credited as the "talent" in The Timelords. Possibly parodied with the Ice Cream Van.
  • Discordia: Drummond and Cauty both embraced Discordianism, which inspired the majority of their antics. Their initial name, The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu, was taken from The Illuminatus Trilogy.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Aside from the contentious samples, Cauty and Drummond spend most of 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On) attempting to be the British equivelant of The Beastie Boys. They continued this here and there on Who Killed the JAMs, but by the time they started recording as The KLF, most of the hip hop elements of their sound were long gone.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Both 'Justified & Ancient' and 'Last Train To Trancentral' both appear in Chill Out before their eventual release on The White Room.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: "America No More"
  • Fading Into the Next Song: 1987, Chill Out, side one of The White Room. (In the latter, the fading was accomplished via crowd noises sampled from U2's Under a Blood Red Sky. These samples were removed from from the US release of The White Room, which eliminated the fading.)
  • Fun with Acronyms / Xtreme Kool Letterz: The KLF stands for the Kopyright Liberation Front.
    • The JAMs stands for Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Jimmy and Bill recurted a number of Guest vocalist for their most popular hits. Most notible, country legend Tammy Wynette was recurted for the single version of "Justified and Ancient". Former Deep Purple member Glenn Hughes joined for "America: What Time is Love?".
  • Hardcore Punk: Memorably teamed up with the crust punk/Grindcore band Extreme Noise Terror for a spectacular performance at the Brit Awards.
  • I Have Many Names
  • The Illuminati: The Justified Ancients Of Mu-Mu are named after a society from The Illuminatus Trilogy who subvert the Illuminati by infiltrating it and feeding it false information. The KLF Communications "pyramid blaster" logo is also a parody of the "eye in the pyramid" Illuminati symbol.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The group deleted their entire catalogue in 1992 and they've been out of print ever since. Even before then, original versions of 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?) were difficult to find because copyright issues resulted in it being withdrawn from circulation, as mentioned above.
  • Listing Cities: "It's Grim Up North" and the full-length version of "America: What Time Is Love?".
  • Missing Episode / What Could Have Been: The group were working on an album called The Black Room which would have been utterly abrasive in the style of their collaborative performance with Extreme Noise Terror. However, they decided to retire from the music industry and it was never finished or released.
  • Money to Burn:
    • First, when Amanda Whitehead refused to accept the K Foundation's award for being "the worst artist of the year", Drummond and Cauty threatened to set fire to the cash prize. Whitehead accepted the cash at the last minute, saying she would donate it to charity.
    • Later, when the K Foundation's art work "Nailed to the Wall"--which consisted of a million pounds in cash, nailed to an easel--failed to make the impact that they wanted, Drummond and Cauty found themselves with a million pounds and no idea what to do with it. So they burned it. And filmed the whole thing.
  • New Sound Album: Chill Out was completely different from anything they'd released before, and The White Room was completely different from that. If they'd ever finished it, The Black Room was supposedly going to be a different sound again.
    • Their early work as The JAMs is steeped in Hip-hop. The original version of The White Room is synth-pop (ala Pet Shop Boys), Chill Out is ambient album, The Stadium House Trilogy is Acid House with Stadium Rock production, and what we have of The Black Room, it's Thrash Metal.
  • One-Hit Wonder: as The Timelords, they were this.
  • Overly Long Gag: ***K The Millennium in its radio edit includes a verse from the hymn Eternal Father, Strong To Save. That's a gag. The full-length version includes three - that's an Overly Long Gag.
  • Rearrange the Song / Evolving Music: All their hits went through extensive rewrites, reworkings, remixes and reissues.
  • Recurring Riff: Several of these, "Mu! Mu!" is probably the most iconic. Another would be guest rapper Chike's "ANCIENTS of Mu-Mu" which was reused several times, as well as the whole "They're Justified, and they're ancient...." verse.
  • Sampling:
  • Shout-Out: 'Kylie Said To Jason' is packed with these.
    • The Titular "Kylie" and "Jason" being Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, then stars in the popular Australian TV soap opera Neighbours
    • The group's career is basically one huge shout out to the The Illuminatus Trilogy
  • Sixth Ranger:
    • Mark "Spike" Stent: the band's Engineer from "Kylie Said to Jason" onward
    • Bill Butt: directed The White Room Film, along with all the group's music videos.
  • Stage Names: Rockman Rock (Cauty) and King Boy D (Drummond). Initially these were adopted for legal reasons (Plausible Deniability) but it took about 23 seconds for everyone to find out who they really were. They kept the names anyway.
  • Stylistic Suck: "Doctorin' the Tardis", a mashup of the Doctor Who theme and Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Pt. 2" intentionally written as a Springtime for Hitler. It ended up going to #1 on the charts, and provided the duo with enough material to write The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), a satirical manual about how to achieve a hit without talent or money.
  • Train Song: "Last Train To Trancentral".
    • The "Mu D. Vari-Speed Version" remix has samples of Trains playing in the background while someone speeds-up and slows down the track.
  • Those Two Guys
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Ricardo's raps tended toward this.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: Tammy Wynette's appearance on "Justified and Ancient".

Notes

  1. as The Justified Ancients of Mumu
  2. as The Justified Ancients of Mumu
  3. as The Justified Ancients of Mumu
  4. as Disco 2000
  5. as Disco 2000
  6. as The Timelords
  7. as Disco 2000
  8. as The Justified Ancients of Mumu
  9. as The K Foundation presents The Red Army Choir
  10. as One World Orchestra
  11. as 2K
  12. as the K Foundation
  13. as the K Foundation
  14. as the K Foundation
  15. as The Justified Ancients of Mumu
  16. a collaboration with Extreme Noise Terror
  17. It's worth noting that 23 is also an Arc Number in Discordianism
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