The Man

The Man was Bill Drummond’s 1986 solo album on Creation Records, meant as a farewell to his previous musical past at the age of 33.

When I was involved in management and all that stuff, it was great for a time, but it started to bother me. I never really wanted to be a manager in the first place. It’s something I just sort of fell into. It was taking over my life, so I had to get out of it.<span class="su-quote-cite"><strong>Bill Drummond</strong> (Option, Nov 1989)</span>

With his interest slowly fading and after having spent half a million pounds at WEA trying to get Brilliant into the charts without any success, Bill finally decided to leave the music business behind.

At that point I thought ‘What am I doing this for?’ and I got out. I did an album myself, wrote the songs in five days, recorded it in five days, and put it out on Creation Records.<span class="su-quote-cite"><strong>Bill Drummond</strong> (Saturday Sequence, Dec 1990)</span>
I wanted to make the album because I realised that I’ve spent a lot of time persuading other people to do what I thought they ought to be doing and now I want to persuade myself to do what I ought to be doing.<span class="su-quote-cite"><strong>Bill Drummond</strong> (Melody Maker, 1 Nov 1986)</span>

Despite an impressive list of musicians he had worked with until then, Bill chose instead to work with Anglo-American alternative pop rock band Voice Of The Beehive, and Australian indie-rock band The Triffids whose pedal steel player Graham Lee would appear on The KLF’s Chill Out a couple of years later.

I made a list of emotions I wanted to cover, then a list of titles somehow and I wrote them in a week without thinking at all about what I was doing. I just wanted to get some things out of my head.<span class="su-quote-cite"><strong>Bill Drummond</strong> (Beat, Nov 1986)</span>

The Man is probably best known for the song Julian Cope Is Dead, a tongue-in-cheek fictional story of how Drummond shoots The Teardrop Explodes’ front singer Julian Cope to fuel his stagnating career (Drummond being the Teardrops’ former manager) and make him ‘bigger than the Beatles, for sure.’

The album closes on Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation, a diatribe against England’s historical treatment of Scotland originally written by Robert Burns in 1791, recited by Bill’s father, Rev Jack Drummond.

This isn’t a retirement, merely the end of a phase and the start of another.<span class="su-quote-cite"><strong>Bill Drummond</strong> (Melody Maker, 1 Nov 1986)</span>

Initially an LP release only the label also put out a timely CD re-release of The Man in 1990. This was probably to cash in on Drummond’s success with The KLF.

The King Of Joy & The Manager

Following the album’s release Creation Records released The King Of Joy, the last track Bill had recorded for the album, as a 12″ single the following year.

I did that one after I’d done the rest. I’d recorded them and I’d got one more day and I thought ‘Ooh, I haven’t done joy!’ I haven’t done an up thing, it’s all looking back and all that. I was feeling so good that I’d actually got things done, I’d been doing the vocals that day and I thought this is Bill Drummond, actually making an LP, I don’t believe it!! So I was sitting at home singing away. I’d always wanted to use those chords, the most corny chords going I’m not a song writer, I haven’t written songs for 9 years, but when I did I never dared use those chords. Now, at this more mature age I’m willing to take these risks…<span class="su-quote-cite"><strong>Bill Drummond</strong> (Beat, Nov 1986)</span>

Included on the B-side was The Manager, the soundtrack of a video shot by Bill Butt which was a rant about the state of the music industry. In it he demands musicians not to spend any more than then days recording their LPs, and the abolishment of advances as ‘no really great music has ever come from a band that’s got themselves a big advance.’

Bill Drummond I did it cos it was cheap and we needed a B-side. It’s a sort of layman’s-eye-view of the pop business. The view of some guy you meet in the pub, or a cab driver, and you make this terrible mistake of letting him know you’re in the music business, and he starts giving you his theory about it – ‘Fuckin’ Duran Duran, eh?…’ It was kind of cynical but I really felt I had a future as an artist rather than someone behind the scenes.

Furthermore Bill suggests to become ‘the manager of the complete music thing’, inviting everybody to write him for his advice and personal guidance for a mere one hundred pounds enclosed as a cheque.

Bill Drummond Before the record had even been released, I’d received a couple of cheques. I can’t say who they’re from but I’ve got £200, so the video’s more or less paid for.

However, Bill did not follow through with his offer, in turn following advice from his own manager.

Bill Drummond As soon as I’d finished ‘The Manager’, my manager said, Don’t do it – don’t try and attempt what I was setting myself up as on the record. He said I should stop telling other people what they should do and just do what I want.


[…] a curious and hugely enjoyable set that trips from Tennessee twang to fake Scottish folk music to brash little pop tunes. […] We could stand a lot more of this sort of thing. (****)
Paul Du Noyer (Q, Nov 1986)
Paul Du Noyer (Q, Nov 1986)
Bill Drummond, at the ripe old age of 33, has recorded this bizarre collection of his own songs to mark his retirement from the backroom of the music business and the commencement of a new chapter in his life. […] Thoroughly enchanting, ripe with Celtic sentimentality and telling personal revelations this is surely one of the oddest records of the year, yet it finds a place very close to my heart.
Helen Fitzgerald (Melody Maker, 1986)
Helen Fitzgerald (Melody Maker, 1986)
This album […] is a touching if idiosyncratic biographical statement. […] ‘The Man’ is a work of humble genius; the best kind. (*****)
Roy Wilkinson (Sounds, 1986)
Roy Wilkinson (Sounds, 1986)
This is a timely re-release considering KLF’s “What Time Is Love” is scorching the charts. […] “The Man” is ostensibly a Scottish folk LP, with hired hands playing an assortment of weird ethnic instruments. “Queen Of The South” is a mellow, breezy song that’s free from Bill’s awful vocals. Whenever he does talk to the mike, it sounds like a drunken talent night in Aviemore. However, “Julian Cope Is Dead” is so funny it can induce involuntary urination. […] Whether it’s samplers or steel guitars, he adds an anarchic touch to anything he lays his hands on. Love him or hate him, Bill Drummond is here to stay.
Zane (1990)
Zane (1990)

Tracks & Formats

The Man (CRELP 014)

LP Album / 1986
A1 True To The Trail 2:47
A2 Ballad For A Sex God 3:56
A3 Julian Cope Is Dead 2:06
A4 I Want That Girl 3:06
A5 Going Back 3:54
B1 Queen Of The South 2:25
B2 I Believe In Rock & Roll 3:35
B3 Married Man 2:12
B4 I’m The King Of Joy 2:43
B5 Son Of A Preacher Man 3:37
B6 Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation 2:45

The Man (CRECD 014)

CD Album / 1990
1 True To The Trail 2:53
2 Ballad For A Sex God 3:58
3 Julian Cope Is Dead 2:07
4 I Want That Girl 3:13
5 Going Back 3:57
6 Queen Of The South 2:25
7 I Believe In Rock & Roll 3:39
8 Married Man 2:12
9 I’m The King Of Joy 2:45
10 Son Of A Preacher Man 3:41
11 Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation 2:46

The King Of Joy (CRE 039 T)

12″ Single / Mar 1987
A1 The King Of Joy
A2 I Want That Girl (Version)
B The Manager (The Complete Soundtrack Of The Video)

“I Want That Girl (Version)” is a mostly-instrumental version of “I Want That Girl” with added trumpet parts not in the original album version. Original lead vocals are removed, but the backing vocals remain.

1 thought on “The Man

  1. “Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation, a diatribe against England’s historical treatment of Scotland”. What utter pish! The writer of the abover article obviously has not read the poem, listened to the words or made any attempt to understand what Burns was writing about or saying. It is an accurate summation of the handfull of Scots Politicians who sold Scotland’s sovereign rights away on 1707. Burns refers to them as a “coward few” and “hireling traitors”. At no point does Burn’s speak ill of England, the English or of any ill-treatment by the English. Burns merely writes of the political maneuovering by a small cluster of Scottish Politicians who (completely undemocratically) betrayed Scotland’s interests through the 1707 Act of Union. Those ‘coward few, hireling traitors’ only looked after their own vested interests. Read and learn.
    Farewell to all our Scottish fame
    Farewell our ancient glory
    Farewell even to our Scottish name
    Sae fam’d in martial story
    Now Sark runs over the Solway sands
    And Tweed runs to the ocean
    To mark where England’s province stands:
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
    What force or guile could not subdue
    Through many warlike ages
    Is wrought now by a coward few
    For hireling traitor’s wages
    The English steel we could disdain
    Secure in valour’s station
    But English gold has been our bane:
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
    I would, or I had seen the day
    That treason thus could sell us
    My auld gray head had lain in clay
    Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
    But pith and power, till my last hour
    I’ll make this declaration
    We were bought and sold for English gold:
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

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