The gripping story of the world’s most mysterious band

Who killed the KLF?

You may remember the hits by British band The KLF – they had worldwide success between 1988 and 1992 3am forever, What time is love and, as the Time Lords, Doctorin’ the Tardis, for a time the world’s best-selling single act – but what you may not know is that the duo, former music executive Bill Drummond and artist and musician Jimmy Cauty, were never actually a band. Well, it was multiple bands – The KLF (which stood for The Copyright Liberation Front, although this has changed several times), the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and the JAMs.

Bill Drummond, links, und Jimmy Cauty, mit ihrem Auto Ford Time Lord, in der Dokumentation <i>Who Killed The KLF?</i>” src=”$zoom_0.628%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_32%2C$y_195/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto /5349c3c66030fdd29ab6033037fb8bd4a9fdc1e2″ height=”390″ width=”584″ srcset=”$zoom_0.628%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$zoom_0.628%2C$multiply_1.545%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2 x_32%2C$y_195/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/5349c3c66030fdd29ab6033037fb8bd4a9fdc1e2 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

Bill Drummond (left) and Jimmy Cauty with their Ford Time Lord car in the documentary Who killed the KLF?

But in reality they were agents of chaos, guerrilla hoaxes that undermined the art world, the media and the music industry, ridiculing the establishment and becoming household names in the process. They adopted a philosophy from a series of esoteric novels from the 1970s, The Illuminatus! trilogylured the music press (who loved it the most) and pioneered stadium house music and music sampling.

This documentary, which took BAFTA winner Chris Atkins more than a decade to make (the project was shelved when Atkins was sentenced to five years in prison for tax fraud; a different story altogether), tells the bizarre tale of the duo’s career, dated Mixing samples from big name bands at Cauty’s squat to their crazy performances top of the popssuccess in the US charts and winning the Brit Awards for best band in 1992 to their equally controversial retirement from public life.

Their career ended in spectacular fashion in 1994 when they wiped out their entire music catalog (which they owned and distributed themselves, a rarity at the time) and then set fire to what they said was their remaining cash for £1,000,000. While many of their stunts were public—they showered dancers at a rave with the money they paid; upgrading the 1994 Turner Prize by awarding winner Rachel Whiteread as ‘Worst Artist of the Year’ and a cash prize of £40,000 (double that of Turner); published a guide on how to become a pop star, The manual (which Austrian techno band Edelweiss followed to the letter and had a smashing European hit single) – for the money burn, which took place on a remote Scottish island, they invited a music journalist to attend.

Eine Nachstellung der KLF, die ihren Brit Award in der Nähe von Stonehenge vergräbt, aus der Doku <i>Who Killed The KLF?</i>” loading=”lazy” src=”$zoom_0.467%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_70%2C$y_0/ t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/12df2cf1648a1c07e1e7aaefb8ca90d69fd7a1de” height=”390″ width=”584″ srcset=”$zoom_0.467%2C$multiply_0.7725%2C$ratio_1.5% 2C$width_756%2C$x_70%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/12df2cf1648a1c07e1e7aaefb8ca90d69fd7a1de,$zoom_0.467%2C$multiply_1.545%2C$ratio_1.5%2C $width_756%2C$x_70%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/12df2cf1648a1c07e1e7aaefb8ca90d69fd7a1de 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

A re-enactment of the KLF burying their Brit Award near Stonehenge, from the doco Who killed the KLF?

Then they disappeared. Brown wrote about the strange stunt that divided people; was it brilliant or was it an obscene waste of money? It seems Drummond and Cauty were just as amazed – and still are.


While this documentary is allegedly “unauthorized” — Atkins uses actors for re-enactments, alongside archive footage and new interviews with some of her colleagues — it’s held together by “never-before-heard” audio recordings of Drummond and Cauty, who appear to have been “gifted” at Atkins from an unnamed source. The gripping story of the world’s most mysterious band

Jaclyn Diaz

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