Liam Howlett is the creative mind behind The Prodigy. A classically trained pianist from Braintree, Essex Liam started off his musical career as a DJ for hip-hop act Cut to Kill in 1987. He left the group after they signed a contract that excluded him and got into the rave scene. It was through the Essex rave scene that he met Leroy Thornhill and Keith Flint who, after hearing Liam DJ, asked to dance to his music at his next live performance. Keith brought his friend Sharky and Liam wanted an MC and friends recommended MC Maxim Reality (Keith "Keeti" Palmer). So it was this original five, yes five, that formed The Prodigy.

Their first release, What Evil Lurks, reached number 31 in the dance charts and it was after this that Sharky left the group. Their big breakthrough came in 1991 with their hit Charly. This reached number 3 in the UK chart but was very controversial as many claimed it was the track that "killed rave". Later in 1991 and in early 1992 the singles Everybody in the Place (No.2), Fire/Jericho and Out of Space all had chart success.

In November 1992 Prodigy released their first full length album, Experience. This was the first LP by a rave act and as one magazine put it they were 'The only techno outfit with the legs to be able to put together a whole album'. Despite the success of the album promotional tours with Paul Oakenfold and Moby were flops and the band ended up in debt.

In 1993 The Prodigy hit back at their underground critics by anonymously releasing One Love as Earthbound. The track was a success and a commercial release followed later that year. After their next single, No Good (Start the Dance), Liam went to work on their next album, Music for the Jilted Generation. This LP moved away from the rave scene towards dance integrated with guitar lines, as is shown on tracks like Voodoo People. The breakbeat drum and bass theme continued and pushed the boundaries of commercially viable music.

For the next two year The Prodigy toured and gigged around the UK. These live performances culminated with a set at Glastonbury '95 which blew away the Oasis performance going on at the same time. It was also throughout this period that Keith Flint developed his unique and characteristic image.

Then, in March 1996, came perhaps one of the defining moments of the 1990s. The release of Firestarter. This was a huge hit all over Europe and sold over 500,000 copies in the UK alone. The track is most famous for its controversial video which was almost banned. Parents of Top of the Pops viewers wrote in complaining that Keith Flint was "a horrible man" and that the video should not have been shown. Other claimed that incited children to commit arson. Despite, or perhaps thanks to, the controversy the single ensured that The Prodigy would have their place in history.

Not content with their return to the charts with Firestarter The Prodigy then hit us with Breathe, an even bigger success selling 700,000 copies. The video was another cracker and helped them break into the US in 1998/1999. Their next single Smack my Bitch Up was yet another controversial one. The video was actually banned by several TV stations this time and the track provoked more outrage from family groups and even more from women's rights groups and feminists.

Their 3rd LP, The Fat of the Land, was phenomenal. It sold over 7 million copies worldwide within a year! It went straight to number one in 22 countries including the US.

In 1999 Liam Howlett released a solo DJ album, Dirtchamber Sessions: Volume 1. This was not hugely successful but is nevertheless a good album.

In 2000 Leroy left the band to pursue his solo career as Flightcrank.

A new album is expected later this year or early 2002. Titled Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned little is known about it except for an expected collaboration between 3D of Massive Attack and Liam.

Well 2002 came and went and stil no new album. We saw numerous versions of a new single, Baby's Got a Temper, which did well as a single but no album. There still is no news as to when this elusive album will appear. The single didn't show much to development from previous work and sounded rather dated, the track also seemed to resort to the shock tactics of old, advocating the use of Rohypnol.


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Discography

Fire/Jericho/Pandemonium EP

  1. Fire (Edit)
  2. Jericho (Original Version)
  3. Fire (Sunrise Version)
  4. Jericho (Genaside II Remix)
  5. Pandemonium

Experience

  1. Jericho
  2. Music reach 1/2/3/4
  3. Wind it up
  4. Your love (remix)
  5. Hyperspeed (G-Force part 2)
  6. Charly (Trip into drum 'n' bass version)
  7. Out of space
  8. Everybody in the place (155 and rising)
  9. Weather experience
  10. Fire (Sunrise version)
  11. Ruff in the jungle bizness
  12. Death of The Prodigy Dancers (live)
This is an excellent LP. Their is an excellent variation with rave, techno, raggae, ska and jungle all featuring on the album. The LP is characterised by its keyboard and synth melody lines. The movement between upbeat rave and techno (Wind it Up) and drum 'n' bass combined with raggae (Out of Space) presents a unusual style that stands out amongst the rave movement.

Best tracks:

Music for the Jilted Generation

  1. Intro
  2. Break & Enter
  3. Their Law (featuring Pop Will Eat Itself)
  4. Full Throttle
  5. Voodoo People
  6. Speedway (Theme from Fastlane)
  7. The Heat (The Energy)
  8. Poison
  9. No Good (Start the Dance)
  10. One Love
  11. 3 Kilos
  12. Skylined
  13. Claustrophobic Sting
Music for the Jilted Generation moves away from the synth and keyboard lines of Experience and towards a guitar and rock influenced dance style. Much like Apollo 440's Electro Glide in Blue there are guitar lines overlayed with a huge uptempo beat, as on Voodoo People. Continuing to draw simliarities to @440's Electro Glide in Blue there are downbeat synth tracks with a little jazz flavour in them like 3 Kilos. The album is another strong one and in it Liam attemtps to regain some respect with the underground with Their Law, a track criticising the Criminal Justice Bill which was designed to legislate against Raves and also with the opening words of the intro, 'So I've decided to take my work back underground, To stop if falling into the wrong hands'.

Best tracks are:

The Fat of the Land

  1. Smack My Bitch Up
  2. Breathe
  3. Diesel Power
  4. Funky Shit
  5. Serial Thrilla
  6. Mindfields
  7. Narayan
  8. Firestarter
  9. Climbatize
  10. Fuel My Fire
One of the most famous albums of the nineties The Fat of the Land revolutionised the world of dance music. Before Fatboy Slim was climbing the charts with his catchy mix tunes. No, The Prodigy broke new territory with this release and you're a fool if you don't own it. You have the big beat dance tracks like Smack my Bitch Up, the drum and bass of Breathe and the hip hop of Diesel Power. An angry dance album to shout along with this can fire you up for anything. Dig it out and give it a spin, sound dated? 'Errmm...no not at all actually'. You see when people make good music it has staying power and the fact that Minefields was included on The Matrix soundtrack in 2000, four years after the album's release, shows it still rocks. No Sci-Fi Action movie is complete without a Prodigy track.

Best tracks are:

The Dirtchamber Sessions: Vol. 1

  1. Prodigy - Intro Beats
    Rasmus - 'Tonto's Release' (Which really is 'Punk Shock')
    Hardnoise - 'Untitled'
    Chemical Brothers - 'Chemical Beats'
    Ultramagnetic MCs - 'Kool Keith Housing Things'
    Lightning Rod Featuring Jalal - 'Sport'
    Ultramagnetic MCs - 'Give The Drummer Some'
    Time Zone - 'Wildstyle'
  2. Bomb The Bass - 'Bug Powder Dust'
    Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five - 'Pump Me Up'
    The Charlatans - 'How High'
    Prodigy - 'Poison'
    Jane's Addiction - 'Been Caught Stealing'
    Tim Dog - 'I Get Wrecked'
  3. Babe Ruth - 'The Mexican'
    The B Boys - 'Rock The House'
    Chemical Brothers - '(The Best Part Of) Breaking Up'
    Word Of Mouth - 'King Kut'
  4. DJ Mink - 'Hey Can You Relate'
    KLF - 'What Time Is Love'
    Franky Bones - 'Funky Acid Makossa'
    Franky Bones - 'Shafted Off'
    Franky Bones - 'And The Break Goes Again'
    Meat Beat Manifesto - 'Radio Babylon'
    Herbie Hancock - 'Rockit'
    45 King - '900 Number'
    Propellorheads - 'Spybreak'
    Beastie Boys - 'It's The New Style'
  5. Sex Pistols - 'New York'
    Fatboy Slim - 'Punk To Funk'
    Medicine - 'I'm Sick'
  6. DST - 'The Home Of Hip Hop'
    JVC Force - 'Strong Island'
    Primal Scream - 'Kowalski'
    Beastie Boys - 'Time To Get Ill'
    Barry White - 'I'm Gonna Love You A Little Bit More Baby
    Public Enemy - 'Public Enemy Number One'
    JBs - 'Blow Your Head'
    T La Rock - 'Breakin' Bells'
  7. LL Cool J - 'Get Down'
    Digital Underground - 'Humpty Dance'
    Uptown - 'Dope On Plastic'
    Coldcut - 'Beats And Piece'
  8. London Funk Allstars - 'Sure Shot'
    West Street Mob - 'Breakdance Electric Boogie'
    Hijack - 'Doomsday Of Rap'
    Renegade Soundwave - 'Ozone Breakdown'
    The Beginning Of The End - 'Funky Nassau'
    Jimmy Castor Bunch - 'It's Just Begun'

Experience: Expanded

Disc 1

  1. Jericho
  2. Music Reach (1/2/3/4)
  3. Wind It Up
  4. Your Love (remix)
  5. Hyperspeed (G-Force, Part 2)
  6. Charly (Trip Into Drum And Bass version)
  7. Out of Space
  8. Everybody in the Place (155 and Rising)
  9. Weather Experience
  10. Fire (Sunrise version)
  11. Ruff in the Jungle Bizness
  12. Death Of The Prodigy Dancers (live)

DISC 2

  1. Your Love
  2. Ruff In The Jungle Bizness (Uplifting Vibes remix)
  3. Charly (Alley Cat remix)
  4. Fire (edit)
  5. We Are the Ruffest
  6. Weather Experience (Top Buzz remix)
  7. Wind It Up (Rewound)
  8. G-Force (Energy Flow)
  9. Crazy Man
  10. Out Of Space - (Techno Underworld remix)
  11. Everybody In The Place - (Fairground remix)

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