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The Manual

After The KLF had a number-one hit as The Timelords with "Doctorin' The Tardis", a combination of the Dr. Who theme and Gary Glitter's "Rock And Roll Part Two", they wrote a book detailing how to have a number one single of your own. The book is actually a straight-forward guide, and an interesting look at the music industry. When it was originally released, they had a money back guarantee, where if you followed the rules of the Manual precisely and didn't have a #1 single, they'd refund the purchase price of the book. (I do not know either if anyone took them up on their offer, or if any number ones did result from the book, unfortunately.) The book used to only be available through FTP sites in a text file, but it was recently reissued and is available in print once more. (Hence me not linking the txt file.)

The book was translated into many languages, and in Bill Drummond's book 45 (a memoir/collection of essays), he talks a bit about seeing some of the translated editions and wondering about their accuracy despite not knowing the languages (he notices that one segment which, in English is 2 or 3 pages, but 2 paragraphs in German and figures that can't be right).

The most interesting thing about it is that it is NOT, as one would probably expect, a humor book. It seems feasible that, at least at the time the book was written, if you had followed their rules, you would indeed have a decent shot at having a number one. Of course, not a sure bet, but fair enough – probably more so than someone who was just winging it. The music industry has possibly changed since the book was released, so it might not work anymore, though. But it might still be worth a shot!

Has anyone heard of The Manual resulting in an actual hit? To answer my own question, I found casual mention of one single being a hit as a result of this book, apparently a "Abba Versus Yodelling" novelty single. (Sort of ironic since The KLF's first album was yanked out of print because of an Abba sample…)