Y’see, I think a lot of you will hate today’s song one which initially came out in 1987, but for ages wasn’t widely available due to a copyright ban being slapped on it.
mp3 : The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – The Queen and I
It samples large portions of Dancing Queen and did so without credit as indeed did just about any example of the genre in those pioneering days. The recording inevitably came to the attention of Abba‘s management and, after a legal showdown, the JAMs‘ album, which was entitled 1987, What The Fuck’s Going On? was forcibly withdrawn from sale.
Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty travelled to Sweden in what was always of course a vain hope of meeting Abba and coming to some sort of agreement to enable a release. They of course took along an NME journalist and staff photographer with them to capture everything for posterity as well as all remaining copies of the LP. They failed in their quest and so ended up disposing of the copies by burning most of them in a field and then throwing the rest overboard on the North Sea ferry trip home. Allegedly.
I managed to find the track, and the others from 1987 WTF, thanks to the purchase of a CD released in 1992 which, according to Discogs is:-
A three-track bootleg with unconvincingly redrawn JAMs logo on front. Tracks 1 & 2 constitute the original 7 songs of the vinyl-only ‘1987’ album. Track 3 is labelled as bonus tracks (by The JAMs) but this is actually a live recording of a band called Big Black performing totally different songs!
I’d like to believe that Bill and Jimmy knew exactly what was going on with that CD, although of course being fine up-standing citizens who have full respect for the law and for the ruling that there should be no copies of the album ever made available then I have to accept it was a completely unauthorised release…..which just happened to have a catalogue number of KLFCD 007.
As I said, The Queen and I is a really early example of sampling and I’m of the view that it’s as much a unique and groundbreaking work of modern art as anything that you’ll find hanging overpriced in a gallery by the likes of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Douglas Gordon or any other eminent contemporary artist.
But then again Bill Drummond himself isn’t all that enamoured by it.
In 1987 he had said “We made [the album] not giving a shit for soul boy snob values or any other values, we just went in and made the noise we wanted to hear and the stuff that came out of our mouths…. Not a pleasant sound but it’s the noise we had. We pressed it up and stuck it out. A celebration of sorts.”
By 1991, he was saying “We didn’t listen to 1987 What The Fuck’s Going On for a long time, and when we did we were embarrassed by it because it was so badly recorded. But I still felt we were able to get a lot out of ourselves through it.”