Justified And Ancient

Album: The White Room (1991)
Charted: 2 11
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • One line in this song is "Make mine a 99," and the record comes under a few different codes, including CHOC-ICE or KLF99. A '99 is an ice cream with a flake in it (Flake'99). To promote this record The KLF hijacked an ice cream van in Liverpool and gave out free 99s around Liverpool. The ice cream stunt is mentioned in the line, "They're justified and they're ancient and they drive an ice cream van."
  • The song originally appeared on The KLF's album The White Room, which was released in March 1991. Sung by reggae musician Black Steel it ends the album.

    In November 1991, the single "Justified & Ancient (Stand by The JAMs)" was released, featuring the lead vocals of "The First Lady of Country" - Tammy Wynette. The subtitle "(Stand By The JAMs)," doubles as a nod to Wynette's hit "Stand By Your Man" and KLF's earlier incarnation, "The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu"

    In the video, Wynette sits on a throne and the words "Miss Tammy Wynette is the first lady of country music" scroll by. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Darren - Warrington, England, for above 2
  • The title "Justified & Ancient" refers to the KLF's pseudonym and earlier incarnation, "The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu" (The JAMs). The JAMs took their name from Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's sci-fi tinged, conspiracy theory-laden Illuminatus! Book series in which The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu are a fictional subversive cult who have been around since pre-history. The song lyrics describe the Justified Ancients making their way to Mu Mu Land in an ice cream van.
  • Tammy Wynette admitted to NME that she thought the track was called "Justified And Anxious" until the day KLF's Bill Drummond turned up in Nashville with the tapes under his arm.

    "As it was, I didn't understand what some of the words meant. I know about ice cream vans, but I'd never heard of a 99 before," she added. "Bill explained it to me and now it makes perfectly good sense. I'm still not sure about Justified and Ancient though."
  • The Tammy Wynette version reached #1 in several countries, including Austria, New Zealand and Sweden. It was only kept from the Christmas #1 slot in the UK by the death of Freddie Mercury and the re-release of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
  • The song revived Tammy Wynette's career. Afterwards KLF were swamped with phone calls from pop stars' agents and managers. "I was in the studio," recalled their engineer and producer Mark Stent to Select, "and we had Neil Sedaka phoning up, we had Sweet phoning up, we had all kinds phoning up. I mean, that's just when I've been there."
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Comments: 6

  • Luke from Manchester, UkNo MJN SEIFER - as noted above, it's the version which ends the White Room album, sung by Black Steel.
  • Sandy from Enterprise, Flso WTF does this song mean? anyone?
  • Camille from Toronto, OhA most excellent, fun song that makes little sense lyrically but is so fun to sing along to. I loved the video also.
  • Mjn Seifer from Not Listed For Personal Reason, EnglandListen to the song on this site (NOT the video, the sound clip) It is different to the video, and is song by a man rather than Tammy - is it a cover version?
  • Jane from Austin, Txi think this song was great because of tammy wynette.
  • Hanny from Roden, NetherlandsThis song shows what a creative person can put together in a song.I do not believe anyone would have thought of putting this combination together.
    It has become a true danceclassic.Does anybody know what the KLF are doing currently?
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