Artist....: The KLF
Title.....: It's grim up north
Rel. Date.: 1991
01-It's Grim Up North (Radio Edit)
02-It's Grim Up North (Part 1)
03-It's Grim Up North (Part 2)
04-Jerusalem On The Moors
"It's Grim Up North" was a 1991 single by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (The JAMs), the main lyrics of which consist of a list of towns and cities in the North of England, set to a pounding industrial techno accompaniment reminiscent of steam train whistles, all of which segues into an orchestral instrumental of the hymn "Jerusalem". It reached # 10 in the UK Singles Chart.
The single was the first release under The KLF's "JAMs" alias since the 1988 compilation album Shag Times, and the last under that name. The release, with its markedly darker tone, punctuated The KLF's string of upbeat house hits, and it was planned that "It's Grim Up North" would be a prominent track on the ultimately unreleased album The Black Room
Record Mirror hailed the original club version as "the hardest rave track of the year" to be "one mind-blowing mental onslaught".
In awarding the 1991 release "single of the week", NME said: "The Scotsman [Bill Drummond] 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...".
In a 2007 article regarding songs about Northern England, The Guardian described the track thus: "It's Grim Up North, by a pseudonymous KLF, wrongfoots the listener. A deadpan catalogue of northern towns, recited over rainy-motorway techno, suddenly blossoms into a rendition of Blake's Jerusalem, as if arriving at some socialist rave utopia."