1987 (What The Fuck Is Going On?)

Following the single All You Need Is Love, The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu’s first album 1987 (What The Fuck Is Going On?) continued the style of heavy cut & paste sampling, beatbox rhythms and Kingboy D’s Scottish raps.

With the money from the single we booked five days in a cheap studio and recorded “1987-What the fuck is going on?”. We made it, 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. We lit a bonfire and put what we could get hold of, on it and then recorded the sound of the flames licking up the pyre. Not a pleasant sound but it’s the noise we had. We pressed it up and stuck it out. A celebration of sorts.Bill Drummond, KLF Info Sheet, Oct 1987

Apart from The JAMs’ first single 1987 is probably most known for the infamous “The Queen And I” and the large chunks of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” it sampled. It didn’t take long until somebody noticed, though.

The Swedish band’s publishers Boco Music have refused permission for the JAMs’ wholesale sampling of ‘Dancing Queen’ for the track ‘The Queen And I’ on their ‘1987’ album.

As a result, the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society last week instructed the JAMs to withdraw ‘1987’ from sale and destroy all remaining copies and masters.

The JAMs also face damages for infringement of copyright although the MCPS say these could be “minimized” if they co-operate full yin withdrawing the record.Sounds, 1987

The interference by ABBA and the MCPS prevented further sales of the album, though at the same it generated some welcome publicity The JAMs where quick to exploit through Who Killed The JAMS?.


At times their adventures are a little too freestyle, too busy, yet there’s never anything mundane here. An extraodrinary heist, indeed.
Stuart Bailie, Record Mirror, 20 Jun 1987
Stuart Bailie
If you listen closely enough you’ll probably hear your own voice somewhere on ‘1987’. The only sane thing to do is buy it and hear yourself screaming out along with the rest of the world.
Roy Wilkinson, Sounds, 20 Jun 1987
Roy Wilkinson
With the entire sonic universe to choose from, ‘1987…’ actually manages, in places, to run short of ideas. […] [It] isn’t a bad record, just disappointing, the sound of one good idea spread very thin, of novelty wearing off.
Danny Kelly, NME, 20 Jun 1987
Danny Kelly
The most exciting, the most original record I’ve heard in years.
Unknown, Melody Maker (1987 Review), 19 Dec 1987
This album is brilliant rock ‘n’ roll. […] It resuscitates the past and blasts its ass with a unique vision. It’s best features are instant impact, righteous Clydeside anger, goddamn cheek, irresponsibility, bloody-mindedness and a lust for thrills.
Robin Gibson, Unknown
Robin Gibson
Justified Ancient Of Mu Mu have made scabrous celebration of 1987’s dizzily wide eyed appeal, while still managing to kick the people that count in the kidneys with more grace than the rickety spliff Red Wedge could ever muster. Inspirational.
Paul Mathur, Unknown, 1987
Paul Mathur

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