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” 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” (KLF 005S) 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 uhu…” instead. For reasons unknown it also fades out early, lacking the “Ladies and Gentlemen…” outro to keep it under the 3 minute mark. A similar but slightly more complete version later appeared on the US promo CD. Whilst both are usually referred to as the “Radio Freedom” mix only the latter is actually labelled as such.
|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 KLF!” the track itself starts with a drawn-out intro and some otherwise unheard vocal bits by Ricardo Lyte before it segues into what is pretty much the standard version.