There aren’t too many electronic music enthusiasts who haven’t heard of Prodigy. Formed in 1990, Prodigy is an English electronic music group founded by Liam Howlett, the keyboardist and composer.
Members of Prodigy
Howlett is still a part of the band’s current line up which includes Keith Flint, dancer and vocalist, Leo Crabtree, drummer, Rob Holliday, lead guitarist, and Maxim, MC and vocalist. Former members of the band include Leeroy Thornhill, who was active as a dancer and a part time live keyboardist from 1990 till 2000. A female dance and vocalist by the name Sharky was also a part of this group during its early stages.
Origins of Prodigy
The name Prodigy was selected by Liam Howlett as an ode to his very first analogue synthesizer, the Moog Prodigy. The group staged their first live performance at the Four Aces in Dalston, London. 6 months after their first public outing, Prodigy released their hit single “Charly”. The track turned out to be a big time draw as it climbed up to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. Charly gave them the breakthrough that they needed. Once they achieved mainstream attention, they went on to sustain their initial popularity through other hit singles such as “Everybody in the Place”
Experience and Music for Jilted Generation
“Experience” was their first full length album. It was released in 1992-93 and was well received by critics and fans alike. Later on, Howlett released an anonymous white label titled “Earthbound I”. A few months down the road, it was officially released as “One Love”. It was loved by the fans of underground electronic music and even reached number 8 in the UK charts. Their second album, “Music for the Jilted Generation”, was once again a huge success. As a matter of fact, the album skyrocketed into numero uno in the UK Album Charts. In addition to that, the album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
Fat of the Land and Controversy
Fans had to wait a little longer for their third album. “Fat of the Land” was finally released in 1997. This album was different from the previous renditions as it had simpler melodies with less rave music influence and more punk-like vocals. The success of this album gave the band global exposure and certified their claim as one of the best dance genre music groups in the world. The album hit top spots in the UK and US charts.
On the flipside, stringent criticism was hurled at Prodigy for their controversial track called “Smack my Bitch Up”. The content of the lyrics and the music video was interpreted to be anti-social, misogynist and violent, however, the controversy surrounding this track did little to hamper their success though as they clinched Viewer’s Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Reunion, New Albums and Further Controversy
In the few years that followed, Prodigy put their performances and recording on a hold. They resumed their work and reunited in 2002 with the release of the single “Baby’s Got a Temper”. This song garnered controversy as well because of its lyrics that mentioned a “date rape” drug.
Their fourth album “Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned” was released in 2004. Once again, it was met with raving reviews as the album topped the UK charts on its debut week. The highly anticipated fifth album, “Invaders Must Die” was released 5 years later in 2009. Like their previous works, this album sat at the pinnacle of the UK charts. It also climbed up to top 5 in Germany and Australia.
Forthcoming Projects and Fat of the Land Anniversary
As of now, Prodigy are working on their upcoming sixth album. They have revealed that the album would be released with a brand new name and a “violent” sound. It is most likely to be released in the first quarter of 2015. In 2010, they toured the United States with world renowned alternative rock band Linkin Park. A couple of years later they celebrated the 15th anniversary of their third album “Fat of the Land” by re-releasing the album along with a remix EP that goes by the name of “The Added Fat EP”
Prodigy are accredited as the pioneers of mainstream big beat genre. In total, they have sold over 25 million records across the globe. Aside from the MTV Video Music Awards, they have bagged two Kerrang! Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards and have been nominated for the Grammys twice. They have been dubbed by critics and fans as the “Godfathers of Rave”. Q Magazine has placed Prodigy in the highly prestigious list of the “50 Bands to See Before You Die”.
Well it pretty much goes without saying that whether you love electronic music or not, listening to a few of Prodigy’s hit singles should be at the top of your to-do-list in music.