Friday, 28 February 2020

The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu - 1987 What The Fuck's Going On? (1987)

On New Year's Day 1987, Bill Drummond decided to make a hip hop record under the pseudonym The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, and because of his limited knowledge about modern music technology, he invited Jimmy Cauty, a former member of the band Brilliant, to join him. Cauty agreed, and the JAMMs' debut single 'All You Need Is Love' was independently released on 9 March 1987 as a limited-edition one-sided white label 12" single, but despite positive reaction from the music press, a commercial release was impossible due to the record's reliance on uncleared, often illegal samples. In response, the JAMMs re-edited the single, removing or doctoring the most antagonistic samples, and re-released it as 'All You Need Is Love (106 bpm)' in May 1987. According to Drummond, profits from this re-release funded the recording of their first album, and '1987 What the Fuck's Going On?' was released in June 1987. Once again, it used extensive unauthorised samples that plagiarized a wide range of musical works, but this time they weren't so lucky, and shortly after the album came out the band were ordered by the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society to destroy all unsold copies of the album, following a complaint from ABBA about use of their music in 'The Queen And I'. 
Drummond and Cauty travelled to ABBA's home country of Sweden in the hope of meeting with the band personally, taking an NME journalist and photographer with them, along with most of the remaining copies of the LP and a gold disc of the album. Failing to find ABBA in residence at Polar Studios in Stockholm, they instead presented the gold disc to a blonde prostitute they pretended was Agnetha "fallen on hard times." Of the original LP's stock, some copies were thrown overboard on the North Sea ferry trip across, and the remainder were burned in a field in Gothenburg before dawn (as shown on the cover of their next album 'Who Killed The JAMs?'). The trip was unexpectedly eventful, with the band accidentally hitting and killing a moose, and later being shot at by a farmer, with a bullet cracking the engine of their Ford Galaxie police car, resulting in them having to be towed back to England by the AA. Once back in the UK they exploited a loophole in their agreement with the MCPS, and offered five copies of the disc that they'd found in a record shop for sale at £1,000.00 each, and that meant that anyone who did have an original copy now had a major rarity on their hands. As one last protest about the whole episode, the band released a version of the album titled '1987 (The JAMs 45 Edits)', which was stripped of all unauthorised samples, leaving such protracted periods of silence and so little audible content that it was formally classed as a 12-inch single. After their eventful experience with The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, Drummond and Cauty reconfigured the band into The KLF, where they continued their mission to subvert the music industry. Despite the fact that there must be quite a few copies of the album out there, it's very hard to find one online, but I've tracked one down so that we can hear for ourselves what all the fuss was about. To be honest, I don't think it lives up to its notoriety, but I'm glad that I've finally heard it.  

Track listing

01 Hey Hey We Are Not The Monkees!
02 Mind The Gap
03 Don't Take Five (Take What You Want)
04 Rockman Rock Parts 2 And 3
05 Why Did You Throw Away Your Giro?
06 Me Ru Con
07 The Queen And I
08 Top Of The Pops
09 All You Need Is Love
10 Next

Suggested by 'The Greatest Albums You'll Never Hear' by Bruno MacDonald

Enjoy / Enjoy


  1. Your first link is not a link

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Many thanks for sharing this. I remember hearing a track or two on the radio when it was released but I've searched for it a few times over the years without any luck.