All You Need Is Love (The JAMs Song) - Promotion and Themes

Promotion and Themes

The artistic attitude of "All You Need Is Love" epitomised that of The JAMs' subsequent recordings: plagiarising popular music by taking extensive samples of other artists' work, and juxtaposing these with each other, adding beatbox rhythms and Drummond's Scottish-accented raps, poems and narrations. The albums 1987 and Who Killed The JAMs?, and the singles "All You Need Is Love", "Whitney Joins The JAMs" and "Down Town" all had small-scale production budgets and little mainstream popularity, yet their novel construction and The JAMs' provocative disregard for copyright gained the duo enduring media attention.

The JAMs' promotional tactics were similarly unconventional, including the use of promotional graffiti, a guerrilla communication method employed repeatedly by Drummond and Cauty, beginning around the time of their first releases. Some copies of the re-released single were supplied in a picture sleeve which showed The JAMs' "Shag Shag Shag" graffiti defacing a billboard (advertising the Today newspaper) that depicted police chief James Anderton. Anderton, a self-declared Christian, had courted controversy when he said "I see increasing evidence of people swirling about in a human cesspit of their own making… We must ask why homosexuals freely engage in sodomy and other obnoxious practices, knowing the dangers involved". As with much of The JAMs' graffiti, the potency of "Shag Shag Shag" was derived from the context it in which it was placed. Further graffiti followed, "JAMs" and "Shag Shag Shag" slogans defacing billboards and Government-funded AIDS warnings in London. The JAMs also made available "Shag Shag Shag" T-shirts which King Boy D told the NME were "selling like hot cakes". The JAMs later revisited the word "shag" when they named their early career retrospective compilation album Shag Times.

Drummond and Cauty's output as The JAMs and later The KLF extensively referenced The Illuminatus! Trilogy, and their debut recordings were no exception. The lyrical references in "All You Need Is Love" are complemented by the first of many iconographic and numerical allusions that soon came to characterise the duo's work. Their "pyramid blaster" logo — a pyramid with a ghetto blaster suspended in front — appeared for the first time on the re-released "All You Need Is Love". The "pyramid blaster" references the "All Seeing I" icon — an eye suspended before a pyramid — associated with The Illuminatus! Trilogy. The catalogue numbers of the single (JAMS 23, JAMS 23S, JAMS 23T) also reference Illuminatus!, in which the number 23 is a recurring element. The JAMs actively enshrouded themselves with the mythology of the conspiratorial Illuminatus!, and by adopting the subversive attitude of the fictional JAMs they quickly developed their own mythology.

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