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What time is love

The Guardian has a story of the utter sheer madness of James Francis Cauty and William Ernest Drummond, better known as KLF, and their collaboration with Glenn Hughes:

By 1991, Glenn Hughes, the Staffordshire-born powerhouse vocalist who cofounded Trapeze and twice fronted Deep Purple, had reached a parodically low ebb for a rock singer. Addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine and ballooning in weight, he struggled to complete a solo album. “I lived alone in Laurel Canyon with the curtains closed,” he recalls, an echo of the late 70s when his Los Angeles housemate David Bowie descended into his own cocaine-induced permanent midnight as he made Station to Station. “By the end of 1991, I was isolated and very alone,” he says. “Typical cocaine psychosis.” Then the KLF called.

Cauty and Drummond (a Trapeze fan) had conceived of a final version of What Time Is Love?, a guitar-driven, full-metal racket with a shrieking rock vocal. “I felt I was destined to do it,” says Hughes. “They wanted a [Roger] Daltrey or [Robert] Plant kind of sound, so when that Motörhead riff came in, I started singing falsetto: the Glenn Turbo Voice.” Nick Coler remembers Hughes blowing out the microphone with his screaming. Spike Stent says: “With all the choirs and orchestras and craziness, we ran out of tape machines.”

The video, shot back to back with a re-recording of Justified And Ancient with country matriarch Tammy Wynette, (Tony Thorpe: “I don’t think she had a clue what she was singing about. None of us did.”) was believed to have cost £500,000. The KLF flooded the James Bond stage at Pinewood with water and brought in a custom-made Viking longship and submarine. “It was take after take – a very draining video, and it was bloody freezing,” says Hughes. “I wasn’t drunk or high that particular day, but I was in a bad way at that time. And there’s that voice in your head saying: maybe you’ve got to make a change.”

Hughes went home to Los Angeles and, on Christmas Day, suffered a heart attack. On leaving hospital, he checked into the Betty Ford clinic; when he left rehab in February he discovered he was in the UK top 20. “I’d love to say that Bill and Jimmy got me off drugs,” he says, “but the truth is I did it to save my own life. While I was in Betty Ford, I kept thinking about this incredible opportunity and how maybe I could represent something again. It was a complete honour for me and a great time in my life.”

Read more in The Guardian. And while there’s nothing more eve remotely Purple related, the whole story of how they came to burn a million pounds in cash on a remote Scottish island is kinda morbidly fascinating. Or the appearance at the 1992 Brit Awards, complete with firing a machine gun from stage, and that was a watered down version of the original idea. Seriously, go read it. Utter sheer madness does not even begin to describe it.

Thanks to Mark Jones for the info.

4 Comments to “What time is love”:

  1. 1
    Nigel Young says:

    I was a KLF fan before they connected with Glenn but not surprised when it happened. On one of their earlier albums, they said that they wanted to record an album called The Jusified And Ancients Of Mu Mu In Rock.
    There’s footage from the America: What Time Is Love? film shoot on their website or at least there was the last time I looked.

  2. 2
    Michael says:

    First time I’ve ever seen this..! Wow 😉

  3. 3
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    & then they christened Glenn as ‘The Voice Of Rock’…. So while I think Glenn sang his part in this quite well (a magnificent voice), this particular musical piece by the KLF leaves me cold. Justified & ancient?…. or time for bedlam with “I was justified”. I know which one I prefer. How ba dat?.

  4. 4
    uwe hornung says:

    That vid was good fun and at the time – after years of hearing nothing from him or any new project always floundering – I was surprised how forceful his voice still was. Maybe being asked to sing on it did lead him to his path of sobriety after all.

    There was a time in his solo gigs when he would have his backing band impromptu burst into that riff with him singing “What time is love?” – that always went down well. There is a long version where he starts reciting/singing all those US cities towards the 4:30 mark (the accompanying vid ist the original one re-dedited to match the music):


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