Nearly twenty nine years since they famously deleted their entire back catalogue The KLF have re-emerged to upload their songs onto streaming sites, including Spotify. For five glorious years from 1987 through to May 1992 The KLF were a major force in music and art; in 1991 they were the best selling singles band in the world.
Bill Drummond of The KLF fires machine gun blanks at The Brit Awards. Photo credit PA Images.
Bill Drummond and fellow founding member Jimmy Cauty were not new to music when they formed the sometimes anarchic and almost always individually creative KLF. Drummond, an ex A&R man, guitarist and manager joined forces with fellow guitarist and artist Cauty as Drummond approached his mid-thirties and sought a “revolution” in his life. What happened next was to be a revolution in music.
The KLF, or Timelords, or Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu were, at the time, nothing short of a revelation. They were challenging, unorthodox, eccentric, very exciting and unlike anything else. The band eschewed all accepted norms, did everything they could to be different and courted controversy. King Boy D and Rockman Rock (Drummond and Cauty) were not interested in doing things in a conventional way, they wanted to rip up the rule book and make their own, and, to a greater extent that’s what they did.
The KLF made a series of unforgettable, massive hits using their own template and following their own unique visions on what they should do. Infamously The KLF also shared an office across the way from Pete Waterman, of Stock, Aitkin and Waterman infamy, with Drummond admitting that “how The KLF went about making records and then how those records were marketed owes a debt to Waterman”, the song ‘Kylie Said To Jason’ is in fact a KLF homage to Pete.
For five years The KLF, in it’s various guises, dominated the charts with hits including the number one single 3AM Eternal, What Time Is Love, Last Train to Trancentral and Doctorin’ The Tardis. They enjoyed huge success on their collaborative song with Tammy Wynette, Justified & Ancient, and replicated their singles success with the album The White Room charting at number three.
Drummond and Cauty were not satisfied with merely dominating the charts however, the pair also embarked on sometimes mischievous communications and mis-direction placing ads in various publications that eluded to the band’s activity. Then in 1992, after their legendary Brit’s performance, it was announced that the band had left the music business for good. In May that year they deleted their back catalogue to round off what some described at the time as “a spectacular act of self-destruction”.
The KLF have popped up over time occasionally ever since the early 90’s, most notably burning £1,000,000 as an act of performance art, and more recently for the launch of the novel 2023, A Trilogy but it is only now that they have started to share their music again.
In the first of five planned instalments The KLF have uploaded Solid State Logik 1 a collection of eight tracks that include 3AM Eternal, Justified And Ancient and It’s Grim Up North. Further releases are due later in the year, with speculation that there may also be some new material to come as well. For now we’ll just have to enjoy what we’ve been given.