Music Video of the Day: 3 A.M. Eternal by The KLF (1991, directed by ????)

There are so many stories about the careers of British musicians Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty that it would probably take several posts to tell them all.

Drummond’s musical career began in 1977 when he formed a punk band called Big in Japan.  After Big In Japan broke up, Drummond was one of the co-founders of Zoo Records and he worked as a manger and producer for several post-punk bands, including Echo and the Bunnymen.  He also worked with a band called Brilliant, which had been formed by former Killing Joke bassist, Jimmy Cauty.

Drummond and Cauty must have hit it off because they went on to start their own musical project.  Originally known as the The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (The JAMs), the project also recorded under the name The Time Lords and, eventually, the KLF.  Among their first hits (as The Time Lords) was Doctorin’ The Tardis.  After Doctorin’ The Tardis hit number one despite being intentionally designed to have no musical value whatsoever, Drummond published a book called The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way), a semi-satirical how-to book about how to write a song vapid enough to become a hit.  Drummond promised that anyone who read the book would have a hit song or they would get their money book.  Drummond later admitted that some readers did subsequently contact him, asking for a refund.

As the KLF, their biggest hit was 3 A.M. Eternal.  3 A.M. Eternal was originally recorded in 1988 and was subsequently re-recorded in 1991, this time with the addition of rapper Ricardo Da Force and vocalist Maxine Harvey.  This video feature Da Force rapping while playing with a very big phone while Maxine Harvey sings in what appears to be a pyramid.  Meanwhile, the members of the KLF drive around at three in the morning.  The car from the driving scenes also appeared in the video for Doctorin’ The Tardis.

When the KLF performed this song at the 1992 Brit Awards, they fired machine guns at the audience.  Though the machine guns were full of blanks, no one had informed the audience of that fact and there was quite a panic as a result.  After the show, the KLF announced that they were retiring from the music business and then deleted their back catalog.  They also had a dead sheep sent to the after party.


Music Video of the Day: Doctorin’ The Tardis by The Timelords (1988, directed by ????)

Today’s music video is for the song that Melody Maker called “”pure, unadulterated agony!”

Recorded in 1988, Doctorin’ The Tardis was produced by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, who would later be better known as The KLF.  The song is a mash-up of the Doctor Who theme music, Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll (Part Two), Sweet’s Blockbuster, Steve Walsh’s Let Get Together, and the famous Dalek war cry.  The song was Drummond and Cauty’s attempt to write a number one hit single, as opposed to the more esoteric and socially conscious work for which they were better known.

As Drummond explained it,  “We went into the studio on a Monday, thinking we were going to make a house track, a regular underground dance house track using the Doctor Who theme tune… [but] we [then] realised it was in triplet time and you can’t have house tracks in triplet time. The only beat that would work with it was the Glitter beat. By Tuesday evening we realised we had a number one and we just went totally for the lowest common denominator.”  Drummond also later said that Doctorin’ The Tardis was, “the most nauseating record of all time.”

While the critics may have agreed with Drummond, the music-buying public loved the song and Doctorin’ The Tardis spent a week as number one on the UK pop charts.  Drummond and Cauty responded by writing a book called The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way), which was advertised as being a guide to how to have a number one hit record without having any musical talent whatsoever.  Among The Manual‘s advise: Be on the dole and, if you’re already a musician, stop playing your instrument and sell it.  The Manual also warned that all of its advice will be obsolete within twelve months.

The video, which cost £8,000 to make, was filmed in Wiltshire and features Cauty’s 1968 Ford Galaxie police car being pursued by some poorly constructed Daleks.


This is what a real Dalek looks like, son.