Bootlegs of rare KLF releases have been released aplenty over the time. While some of them can be easily spotted, others are hard to distinguish from the original issues.

  • 1987 (What The Fuck Is Going On?)
    • Vinyl Releases

      There are two known vinyl bootleg releases of ‘1987’ which are both fairly easy to tell apart if you know what to look for.

      The first one changed the original sleeve’s colour scheme from black/white to red/white which makes is rather easy to spot.

      The second one looks pretty similar to the original but can be identified by a small spelling mistake on the labels – the original’s outer text reads “ALL SOUNDS ON THIS RECORDING…” whereas the bootleg reads “ALL SOUNDS O9N THIS RECORDING…”

      CD Releases

      While bootlegs do exist ‘1987’ never got officially released on CD.  There are two CD bootlegs:

       CD: 1991 US (B&M Productions B&M-1)
       CD: 1992 UK (...KLFCD 007) [white cover, orange text]

      of which the sound quality is reported to be very good. On the UK CD the final 3 ” CD Bonus tracks” are replaced by some live tracks by, amongst others, Big Black (see 2.020 for more).

  • Space
    • Vinyl Releases

      Some bootleg versions of this exist. They are very hard to distinguish, and have an almost-identical cover design but which omits the mention of KLF Communications. If you examine the LP’s cover and label art closely, it looks like it was shot from another copy of the LP, which is pretty typical bootlegger’s territory, and hardly something they’d need to do on a legit reissue.

      CD Releases

      The manufacturers tried to duplicate the Space CD identically, and apart from a slightly botched print job almost managed. The bootleg is easily recognisable though, for a large black area after the phonograph right and copyright symbols and before the words “MADE IN ENGLAND”. If it is the original KLF Communications release, it would say 1990 KLF COMMUNICATIONS in that area. The CD itself is distinguishable because of the “fake” compact disc logo and the fact that the text that runs along the edges of the CD is only on the top, as opposed to being on the top and bottom of the original.

  • Last Train To Trancentral (KLF 008R 12″)
    • With only 1000 copies in existence KLF 008R is among the more sought after releases so naturally bootlegs exist, but thankfully the differences are right on the outer sleeve.

      Front cover of 008R original (left) and bootleg (right)
      Front cover of 008R original (left) and bootleg (right)

      While the original is pink the bootleg is a lot darker in colour. The font and typeset varies between both – whereas the original uses the KLF’s standard font the bootleg uses a look-alike font (Compacta?) which results in differences in the overlapping of the “5” and “Trancentral” as well as a much more rounded “5” on the bootleg.

      Back cover of 008R original (top) and bootleg (bottom)
      Back cover of 008R original (top) and bootleg (bottom)

      Though not as obvious as on the front the back cover features similar differences in font and typeset as well. Furthermore the bootlegs omits the barcode in the upper right corner.

      Thanks to Maarten Bouwes for providing pictures for comparison.

  • Madrugada Eterna (Club Mix 12″)
    • The original has 3 tracks and is labelled KLF ETERNA 1. The Italian bootleg has only one track and is labelled KLF ETERNAL 23. Note that neither feature the mix from the White Room promo video.

  • Chill Out (JAMS LP5)
    • It seems that only the original JAMS LP5 has the copyright notice printed in the outer circle of the label as well as the KLF Communications logo on the right.

  • 3 AM Eternal (TOTP Version)
    • The original 7″ vinyl is one-sided and the catalogue number is KLF5TOTP. The bootleg is double sided (the same track on both sides) and the catalogue number is KLF 3AM1. It is rumoured that these originated when one member of Extreme Noise Terror heard it was not going to be commercially released and had a few printed up on the side, very allegedly.

  • The White Room Soundtrack
    • The ‘White Room Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ has never been officially released due to Bill and Jimmy cancelling it when ‘Kylie Said To Jason’ failed to chart at higher places, so basically, every copy you will find of this is a bootleg.

      In 1998, list members released a bootleg of the soundtrack that was apparently taken from a stolen mastertape. Along the original ten tracks of the OST, they also added some rarer KLF tracks and mixes, most notable the ‘monster attack mix’ of ‘What Time Is Love?”. While those bonus tracks were mastered from CD or vinyl, which lead to a quite decent sound, the tracks taken from the mastertape sound quite muffled and got several stereo flaws in them. The sleeve features a quite interesting story about the ‘White Room’ movie, though.

      Several years later, the owner of the original tape had it re-recorded in a professional studio, using the EQ settings from ‘Kylie Said To Jason’ (the only track that had been released on CD). There are mp3 copies of this on both FTP servers for free download, so you might as well get them from there instead of throwing your money at someone selling a copy on eBay claiming it being the proper release. The sound quality of these is very good, especially if you were used to the 1998 bootleg’s sound.

  • Chill Out & Space CD/Tape
    • Bootleg. This was never released by KLF Communications but appears on ‘Wix Trax! Records’. The sleeve is an amalgamation of Chill Out and Space sleeves, and the CD itself plays Chill Out as individual tracks, but cuts of the end of ‘The Lights of Baton Rouge Pass By’ to break into a single track of Space. CD Cat no. is ODY 026 KLF 1

  • Ultra Rare Trax
    • There was never an official KLF release of this compilation. URT are a well-known series of bootlegs, there is also an Orb one.

  • Lost Sounds Of Mu CDs
    • The Lost Sounds of Mu series is an effort to make available to fans of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty those tracks which have either fallen out of circulation, or are difficult to acquire in their original state. The discs are created and assembled by fans, for fans, and with a desire for the preservation of these Great Men’s contribution to popular culture. These are ‘Fan Club’ discs.