It’s Grim Up North

It’s Grim Up North was updated and re-released in 1991 in a slightly more “radio-friendly” version. The new mixes dropped Pete Wylie’s vocals from the 1990 original and replaced them with Bill Drummond’s instead. In addition The JAMs added a new outro in the form of Jerusalem On The Moors, an orchestrated arrangement of Jerusalem by Sir Hubert Parry.

Promotion & Advertising

The first advert for It’s Grim Up North appeared in the NME in late October ’91. The layout is centered around the large JAMs logo and includes the single’s release date as the only other bit of information.

28-10-91 - The JAMs - Pyramid Blaster Logo - KLF Communications Logo
Advert for The JAMs’ “It’s Grim Up North” (NME, 26 Oct 1991)

Just one week later The JAMs ran a full-page advert in the NME which shows a graffiti reading “It’s Grim Up North” sprayed onto a bridge spanning the M1 motorway. While the graffiti had been around since the 70’s Labour MP Joe Ashton tabled a motion in the House Of Commons to have it removed (or at least have added additional lines about the South to balance things out) just a few days before the first advert had appeared. The JAMs naturally took the opportunity…

“It’s Grim Up North” Graffiti Advert (NME, 2 Nov 1991)

The third and final advert appeared two weeks later in November, displaying a slightly smaller JAMs logo and the tag line “The North Will Rise Again”. The very same phrase first appeared in Prestwich Prophet’s Grin on Who Killed The JAMs? and is also featured during the outro of the music video for It’s Grim Up North.

KLF Communications Logo - Pyramid Blaster Logo - The JAMs Logo - "The North Will Rise Again" - CD
Advert for The JAMs’ “It’s Grim Up North” (NME, 9 Nov 1991)


A hell of a record. Literally.
Melody Maker, Nov 1991
[It’s] completely fab in a very KLF mad-great-uncle-sort-of-way. Of course. Runner-up Single Of The Fortnight.
Smash Hits, Nov 1991
The Scotsman picks over the place names with gruesome relish, the backing track pummels and tweaks, blasts and buffets him round the furthest God-forsaken reaches of this demi-paradise, this land of kings, this sceptred isle, this England. […] A thing of feverish, fiendish irreverence and conceptual genius, ‘It’s Grim’ climaxes with a burst of orchestral splendour, a beacon of pomp and circumstance, a reminder of all that is great and noble in this green and pleasant land. And then at the close the killer blow – a lonesome seagull squawking over the barren wasteland.
Unknown, NME, 2 Nov 1991 (Single Of The Week)

Tracks & Formats


7″ Single / 28 Oct 1991
A It’s Grim Up North (Part 1) [Edit]
B It’s Grim Up North (Part 2) [Edit]


Cassette Single / 28 Oct 1991
A1 It’s Grim Up North (Part 1) [Edit]
A2 It’s Grim Up North (Part 2) [Edit]


12″ Single / 28 Oct 1991
A It’s Grim Up North (Part 1) 10:03
B It’s Grim Up North (Part 2) 6:13


CD Single / 28 Oct 1991
1 It’s Grim Up North (Radio Edit) 4:04
2 It’s Grim Up North (Part 1) 10:03
3 It’s Grim Up North (Part 2) 6:13
4 Jerusalem On The Moors 3:04

3 thoughts on “It’s Grim Up North

  1. Great track. I worked for KLF Communications from 1991 to 1992. There was a German version in the works … one day Bill brought a long computer printout into the studio (Lillie Yard, co-owned by Hans Zimmer) with a list of German towns and cities centered on the page and said the crew was considering a German version of Grim Up North. Not sure how much further it went than that.

    1. Don’t think that ever went anywhere as this is the first time we ever heard of the idea. Given their history with German distributor Intercord it would make sense to do a “localized” version, though. Not to mention that the north of Germany can be pretty grim as well… 😀

      Great blogpost, too – thanks for sharing!

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