Top 100 singles of all time: 91 – KLF – America (What Time Is Love)

There were two very distinctive things about the KLF: number one, everyone liked them. Everyone. Number two, there was nobody else quite like them. The first incarnation of What Time Is Love? was catchy and pleasant in a bland trance dancefloor-filler sort of way, but its reimagining was one of the most vital songs I’ve ever heard. It had this energy, this exuberance that was the most infectious shot of adrenaline to the heart since The Ace Of Spades (which it sampled heavily).

Here’s the original from 1988.

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In 1991, they released this completely warped collision of hip-hop, rock and Nordic sea shanty. And Aquarius from Hair. The vocals were shared between Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple (rock) and Isaac Bello (rap). In an interview with Select in 1992, Hughes claimed that the collaboration “saved [his] life” following years of drug abuse.

The following year, The God Machine recorded an incendiary cover. Perhaps I could have seen them perform it live, but I arrived at the venue only to be notified that drummer Jimmy Fernandez had died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Listening to this now – appalling sound quality and all – reminds me of what a talented band they were.

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Here’s the Kaiser Chiefs version, from their session on Radio One in 2006, which … well, it doesn’t quite work, really, does it?

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and here is the inimitable, astonishing track by KLF.

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