The History Of Prodigy

Pre-Prodigy: Liam Howlett started his musical career as a DJ in a group
called Cut To Kill in 1987, but (as far as we know) he worked on only
one of their singles, titled Listen to the Basstone. He left the band
when they signed a contract that excluded him, and, influenced by house
music (later rave) arriving from overseas, became a DJ in Essex. Soon
(in the club The Barn) he met Leeroy Thornhill, the two-meter tall James
Brown-fan dancer, and ”freelance” traveler Keith Flint, who were the
members of the same rave crowd. Then they asked for a tape of Liam’s
DJing and after hearing some of his own tunes, they asked to dance to
his music, if he played live. A friend, Ziggy organized a live
appearance at a venue called Labyrinth in 1990. The dancers (Keith,
Leeroy, and a friend of Keith’s, Sharky) and Liam were ready for the
gig, but Liam also wanted an MC – friends recommended Maxim Reality
(Keith ”Keeti” Palmer), who joined them as an MC to better the live
shows. The first live Prodigy performance was held in front of 250
people. After the first gig, more followed – and the five formed The
Prodigy (yes, originally there were 5 members)

The first singles: Their first release, What Evil Lurks (with four
tracks) sold seven thousand copies (peaking at #31 in the Dance Chart –
note that after this Sharky left the band) and started them on a way of
massive hits over the following years (after that, they had tons of live
performances in various clubs). Their next single was Charly (which Liam
hoped wouldn’t enter the Top 40), ”featuring” a sample from a BBC Public
Information Film (intended for kids), and became a club anthem, and an
incredible hit (going #3 in the UK Single Chart, and #1 in the UK Dance
Chart) – also causing much controversy, with newspapers claiming the
track ”killed rave”.

The live shows: Being ravers, it was obvious for the Prodigy to have
live shows. In fact, at the beginning, it was the live shows that the
whole Prodigy music was based on – their live shows becoming the most
popular among youth, because of their style and energy. Liam even said
he respected a big rave more than a chart single.

The following months: After the success of Charly, the they released 3
more singles before the first album: Everybody In The Place (which went
#2, being kept off the top spot by the re-release of Bohemian Rhapsody),
Fire and Out Of Space (which was their first international hit,
conquering the airwaves of many European countries). Liam also made
several remixes (for Dream Frequency and Art Of Noise), and turned down
Take That when they asked him to remix one of their songs.

The first album: in November 1992, the Prodigy released their first
full-length album: Experience. Its unique style and freshness made it a
hit – but promotion tours (with Paul Oakenfold and Moby) were complete
failures, and the band ended up with huge debts.

Number one album: This was the time for change: the anonymously released
track, One Love was kind of different, leaving behind most of the
breakbeats, and opening up another style – when Liam saw that the single
had become successful, they revealed that it was a Prodigy track. With
this they showed they wanted a change, and they could change (also, it
was the first Prodigy video that MTV played a lot). Having released No
Good (Start The Dance), Liam started working on a new album. It took him
a lot of struggle to write all the tracks, especially because he had so
many influences. Then Music For The Jilted Generation, the second album
came out – becoming smack a number one hit (remaining for 4 months in
the UK Top 20) and selling more than a million copies. After this, they
started intense gigging, playing to a very wide audience in more than 20
countries. The following two singles (Voodoo People and Poison)
continued their success.

Prodigy Live: After the phenomenal success of Jilted, they embarked on a
long tour around the world (all over America, Australia and Europe).
They even played at the memorable Tribal Gathering festival (one of the
biggest UK dance festivals), and Glastonbury 95, where Oasis fans
listening to the live performance of Oasis were literally rushing to the
Prodigy stage, to hear their superior performance. Of course, one of the
most important results of this tour is Keith’s transformation. He dyed
his hair, and he was well on his way to becoming one of the most diverse
live performers in the world.

Firestarter: The next milestone in their history was the release of
HYPERLINK «firestarter.html» Firestarter in March 1996 that was a smash
hit never before seen in the band’s career (despite Liam’s expectations,
who didn’t think it would be accepted so well). It was a #1 hit in half
a dozen European countries, including the UK, of course (where it sold
half a million copies). Plus, the video of the track (while causing much
controversy) caught the attention of the world.

Breathe: Firestarter was followed by an even bigger success, HYPERLINK
«breathe.html» Breathe , quickly selling 700,000 copies all over the
world. Now it was obvious that the Prodigy were changing again, which
eventualy led to their ”commercialized” style that so many people hyped
and so many cursed. However, their music (and lyrics) had become much
more rebellious: the next single, HYPERLINK «_smbu.html» Smack My Bitch
Up , is a good example of this, whose video has been banned on several
TV stations.

7 million copies: Their 3rd full-length album, The Fat Of The Land,
released in the middle of 1997, was an international success, going
straight #1 in 22 countries, including the US, and becoming a
double-platinum album (it sold more than 7 million copies worldwide).

Dirtchamber: The first commercially released Prodigy material since
Smack My Bitch Up, the Liam Howlett mix album HYPERLINK
«dirtchamber.html» Dirtchamber Sessions Volume 1 is yet another
excellent work – despite that it wasn’t that successful as the previous
albums.

1998-1999: Having evolved into one of the greatest live bands in Europe
(and maybe in the world), and having released many astounding records,
they spent most of these two years relaxing and spending some time on
their own. They had some gigs together, but the most important
developments were the Liam’s live HYPERLINK «dates99.html» DJ
performances , Maxim’s solo single titled HYPERLINK «prodigysolo.html»
\l «Maxim» My Web and Leeroy’s remix of Dr. Dooom’s HYPERLINK
«prodigysolo.html» \l «Leeroy» Leave Me Alone .

The Future: A new Prodigy single and Maxim’s solo album are promised to
be released in 2000, but the dates are uncertain. A new Prodigy album is
expected in 2001, but that release isn’t certain, either.

The 1980/90s Dance Culture

(Excerpt from the book Exit The Underground)

In 1988, it took Britain a matter of months to succumb to Acid House. In
retrospect, it is easy to understand why. For several years, American
musicians had been experimenting with new forms of music such as Rap and
Hip-Hop. In comparison, British bands seemed soft and safe. Their
obsession with making money dictated that they be both easy on the ear
and the eye in order to appeal to audiences across the board. Like punk
in the late 1970s, Acid House became a badge of identity for a small
selection of British youth. Through drugs, clubs, clothes, haircuts and
its very own vocabulary, House created a sub-culture that not only
served as newfound common ground, but also alienated, even offended
outsiders.

Unlike punk, however, House survived its honeymoon period. The reason
was simply that the music itself progressed to accommodate the changing,
increasingly sophisticated tastes of its audience. In fact, today
cutting-edge dance music – with its rock, Dub, Hip-Hop and heavy metal
influences – bares scant resemblance to its melodic House origins.

Dozens of DJs, artists and record labels can claim to have played their
part in the evolution of 1990s dance culture. Only one band, however,
has stayed ahead of each new trend. Since forming in the rave days of
1990, Essex-based The Prodigy have mixed up musical styles, absorbed
myriad influences and experimented with new technology in order to keep
dance music on the move. More than any other artist, they have proved
that dance acts can compete with conventional rock bands both in terms
of album sales and live shows.

What was actually Acid House on a massive scale, raves took off in the
UK at the end of the 1980s. Huge illegal warehouse parties and outdoor
gatherings – attracting tens of thousands of people – turned a rapidly
growing number of the country’s youth on to a new form of music played
entirely by machines. Acid House was a relentless, minimalist, manic
offshoot of the House and Techno scenes that had developed in the North
American cities of Chicago and Detroit. With a name thought to have
originated from the group Phuture’s Acid Track single of 1987, Acid
House was characterised by hypnotic rhythms, offbeat soundscapes and
weird sample. To intensify the music’s mind-altering frequencies, the
melodies central to American House were omitted. Acid was more extreme,
almost alien. The beats were impossibly fast – far too fast ever to be
recreated by real musicians – and the sounds were certainly not human.

The explosion in awareness, production and consumption of the chemical
MDMA – ie the recreational drug Ecstasy – that that happened at the same
time as Acid House was no coincidence. The incessant, repetitive beat of
the man-made music helped Ecstasy users to maintain both their energy
levels and a trance-like state in which they could dance non-stop for
hours on end. The loved-up, hedonistic Ecstasy experience led the rave
scene to adopt a recycled Hippie mantra from the 1960s. 1988 became
known as the Second Summer of Love, smiley T-shirts and baggy jeans
became street fashion and alcohol waas snubbed in favour of high-energy,
non-alcoholic herbal and caffeine cocktails.

BREATHE

Breathe with me

Breathe the pressure

Come play my game I’ll test ya

Psychosomatic addict insane

Breathe the pressure

Come play my game I’ll test ya

Psychosomatic addict insane

Come play my game

Inhale inhale

You’re the victim

Come play my game

Exhale exhale exhale

ДЫШИ

Дыши со мной,

Вдохни этот газ,

Давай, сыграй в мою игру,

Придурок, псих и наркоман.

Вдохни этот газ,

Давай, сыграй в мою игру,

Придурок, псих и наркоман

Давай, играй,

Вдыхай, вдыхай, ты жертва.

Давай, играй,

Вдыхай, вдыхай, вдыхай.

Prodigy consict of:

Keith Flint (danser) Liam Paris Howlett (composer) Maxim
Reality (MC)

Leeroy Thornhill (dancer) Kieron Pepper (drummer) Gizz
Butt (guitarist)

Sharky Jimmy Davies (guitarist)

Albums

Selected Mixes For The Jilted Generation The Castbreeder

Inflicted Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One

The Fat Of The Land The Experience

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