|Prodigy Singles and Albums|
> art & music > Prodigy Biography and Discography
> Prodigy lyric
Essex boys and techno terrorists The Prodigy emerged through the rave scene of 1991 with their What Evil Lurks EP. But utilising the pretexts of punk they pushed back the boundaries of dance further than any dance act before them. With brutal, industrial beats married to nursery rhyme simplicity, in the Prodigy's hands, dayglo sticks would become weapons of torture rather than symbols of hands-in-the-air mass love-ins and a raver's whistle was just as likely to be stuck where the sun don't shine.
The brainchild of Essex boy Liam Howlett, the band were formed in 1990 together with dancers and vocalists Keith Flint, Maxim Reality and Leeroy Thornhill. Howlett had spent time in a local hip hop act Cut 2 Kill as a DJ while still at school. But after a few failed attempts at securing a deal Howlett became disillusioned with hip hop and began DJ-ing at raves around Essex. Howlett met up with Flint and Leeroy at The Barn in Essex and the pair asked for a tape of Howlett's mixing and his own tracks. Impressed they asked him to record more and with a female friend, Sharky, named themselves The Prodigy after Howlett's first Moog synthesizer. Maxim joined as MC at their live debut in late 1990 at The Labyrinth, an East London club.
Howlett signed them to XL REcordings just before Christmas for their debut, the What Evil Lurks EP in February 1991. The group's next release, Charly was released in August 1991 and epitomised the band's in-yer-face stance. It fused juggernaut breakbeats to sod-you hoovering synths and a sample of a veteran government TV ad warning children of the dangers of playing with fire (a recurring lyrical obsession). The single's success, (it reached No.3 in the charts) proved that clubbers did have a sense of humour. Sadly, it spawned a host of toytown techno imitations including Urban Hype's Trip To Trumpton and Smart E's Sesame Treet.
Borrowing from Aruthur Brown's well-worn track of the same name, Fire gave the group another Top 20 hit, closely followed by their debut album, The Prodigy Experience in 1992. The album was more inventive than most of the cash-in albums to come out of the 12" dominated rave scene. The record offered alternative versions of the hits and great new tracks like the breakbeat skank of Out Of Space. The album sold 1m copies in the UK and by now the band had become an electrifying live act with a canny ability to mobilise a crowd. It was exhausting just watching them perform - Liam scurrying behind banks of keyboards, Maxim and Keith moshing and staring menacingly, cementing their cartoon psycho personas. It was in short, a world away from the traditional rave act club set usually consiting of scantily clad dancers and some nameless diva miming to a 15-minute backing track.
By 1993 Howlett had become and in-demand remixer, working on material
for acts such as Dream Frequency and Front 242. Meanwhile he was worried
that the band had become a cliche so he released the track One Love under
a pseudonym, Earthbound, before its official release in October 1993.
Howlett's rethink and rejeuvanation heralded a darker, even more
aggressive marriage of techno, industrial and punk on the Music For A
Jilted Generation LP. Opening with a sinister tapping typewriter and
spoken intro then slamming into a dark, twisting techno groove it was
clear that Howlett was no longer 'loved-up.' The album's dark sweep mapped
out the futre of techno, Prodigy style. There was a two-fingered salute to
the Criminal Justice Bill on Their Law, the compelling riffs and funky
flute of Voodoo People and the military stomp of Poison. The album went to
No.1 in the UK, establishing them as major contenders who had far
outstripped the narrow confines of dance music at that time.
The skull-crushing follow up, Breathe was even better, an ominous Joy Divison-esque guitar riff seguing into the hardest, funkiest breakbeats since The Chemical Brothers. And when Breathe was voted Single of the Year by readers of metal mag Kerrang! it was clear that the group now straddled the rock and dance arenas with equal aplomb. Howlett proved the point by collaborating with Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello.
Breathe had raised the public's expectation of the next album, The Fat Of The Land, released in 1997. And while it didn't quite live up to the Jilted LP there were plenty of fine brain-melting moments - the insistent techno hop of Diesel Power and the Beastie Boys-sampling Funky Shit were high-octane crowd pleasers. It was the album's single release, Smack My Bitch Up that would draw most controversy with the nation's moral guardians and women's groups up in arms at the apparently misogynist content. The band remained unapologetic and refused to explain the song. The accompanying booze, sex 'n' drugs video (in which a woman is revealed to have committed all the boozed up antics you'd normally associate with a bloke) was banned by every TV station, lending it instant notoriety and credibility.
The band's seven year sabbatical since Fat of the Land is about to be
broken in September 2004 with the release of new album, Always
Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. The set doesn't feature Keith Flint or Maxim
(although there are rumours the original lineup will reunite for a tour).
Instead a host of guest vocalists appear, including Liam and Noel Gallgher
on the track Shootdown. (Both Liam Howlett and Liam Gallagher are married
to the Appleton sisters Natalie and Nicole). Elsewhere Hollywood actress
Juliette Lewis appears on the track Hotride while there are also cameos
from Kook Keith, Princess Superstar and Twista. The record is the first
since the 2002 release of the poorly received single Baby's Got A Temper.
The Prodigy Singles:
by MDA Turbo Marketing,