Released in early January 1991, 3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L.) was The KLF’s second #1 single after Doctorin’ The Tardis.
The KLF decided to keep large chunks of the bits sung by Maxine Harvey as well as the “Eternaaal” chants from the original but ditched Bill’s spoken bits in favour of newly recorded rap vocals. With Azat Bello not available at the time of recording these were provided by Ricardo “Da Force” Lyte instead who went on doing more vocals on The KLF’s The White Room album as well.
The single’s iconic “This Is Radio Freedom” machine-gun style opening was sampled from the actual Radio Freedom‘s station ID and was edited out on the “Radio Freedom Edit” (see KLF 005S below) later to comply with Radio 1 guidelines over the Gulf War.
Promotion & Advertising
Adverts for the single started to appear in Record Mirror and the NME in early January. Other than the record’s release date they did not give away any further information as usual.
While the chart success of What Time Is Love? might have taken international distributors by surprise the hype machine had finally shifted into gear with the follow-up single, and promotional copies & sheets started to appear in other countries as well, including German distributors Intercord…
… or Arista in the United States.
Tracks & Formats
|7″ Single / 7 Jan 1991|
|A||3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L. – Radio)||3:42|
|B||3 a.m. Eternal (Guns Of Mu Mu – Edit)||3:30|
|Cassette Single / 7 Jan 1991|
|A1||3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L. – Radio)||3:42|
|A2||3 a.m. Eternal (Guns Of Mu Mu – Edit)||3:30|
Tracks are repeated on B side.
|12″ Single / 7 Jan 1991|
|A||3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L.)||5:50|
|B||3 a.m Eternal (Guns Of Mu Mu)||5:09|
|CD Single / 7 Jan 1991|
|1||3 a.m Eternal (Live At The S.S.L. – Radio)||3:42|
|2||3 a.m. Eternal (Guns Of Mu Mu)||5:25|
|3||3 a.m. Eternal (1989 Break For Love Mix)||5:44|
|7″WL Promo Single / Jan 1991|
|A||3 a.m. Eternal (Radio Freedom Edit)||2:56|
The Radio Freedom Edit is similar to the “Live At The S.S.L – Radio” version with the alleged machine-gun sounds cut, starting with the very first bass drum and P.P. Arnold’s “KLF, u-hu u-hu…” instead. For reasons unknown it also lacks the second half of the breakdown.
A similar version later appeared on the US promo CD though with the full breakdown again. Both variants fade out on Arnold’s final “KLF…” chant and before Scott Piering’s “Ladies And Gentlemen…” announcement.
Whilst the version on the 7″ promo does not have a distinct name – a sticker on the sleeve only stating ‘machine gun intro edited out’ – both are usually referred to as the “Radio Freedom Edit” even though only the latter is actually labelled as such. This is most probably due to the similar openings of both versions, leading to fans retroactively attributing the mix title from that release to the version on KLF 005S as well.
|12″WL Promo Single / 15 Aug 1991|
|A||3 a.m. Eternal (US Promo Mix)||5:42|
Exclusively released in the US as a limited pressing of (reportedly) around 120 copies, this 12″ by Arista includes an alternate version of the “Live At The S.S.L.” mix featuring a radically different intro. Starting with Scott Piering announcing “Ladies and Gentlemen… please welcome, live on stage, The K-L-F!” the track itself opens on a drawn-out intro and some otherwise unheard vocal bits by Ricardo Lyte before it segues into what is pretty much the standard version.