The Prodigy life and biography

The Prodigy picture, image, poster

The Prodigy biography

Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Braintree, Essex
Nationality : English
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-03-29
Credited as : electronic music band, Invaders Must Die, H.N.I.C. 3

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The Prodigy are an English electronic dance music group formed by Liam Howlett in 1990 in Braintree, Essex. Along with Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, and other acts, The Prodigy have been credited as pioneers of the big beat genre, which achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s and 2000s.

They have sold over 25 million records worldwide. The group has won numerous music awards throughout their career, including two Brit Awards—winning Best British Dance Act twice, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Kerrang! Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards, and have twice been nominated for Grammy Awards.

The Prodigy navigated the high-wire, balancing artistic merit and mainstream visibility with more flair than any electronica act of the 1990s. Ably defeating the image-unconscious attitude of most electronic artists in favor of a focus on nominal frontman Keith Flint, the group crossed over to the mainstream of pop music with an incendiary live experience that approximated the original atmosphere of the British rave scene even while leaning uncomfortably close to arena-rock showmanship and punk theatrics. True, Flint's spiky hairstyle and numerous piercings often made for better advertising, but it was producer Liam Howlett whose studio wizardry launched the Prodigy to the top of the charts, spinning a web of hard-hitting breakbeat techno with king-sized hooks and unmissable samples. Despite electronic music's diversity and quick progression during the 1990s -- from rave/hardcore to ambient/downtempo and back again, thanks to the breakbeat/drum'n'bass movement -- Howlett modified the Prodigy's sound only sparingly; swapping the rave-whistle effects and ragga samples for metal chords and chanted vocals proved the only major difference in the band's evolution from their debut to their worldwide breakthrough with their third album The Fat of the Land. Even before the band took its place as the premiere dance act for the alternative masses, the Prodigy had proved a consistent entry in the British charts, with over a dozen consecutive singles in the Top 20.

Howlett, the prodigy behind the group's name, was trained on the piano while growing up in Braintree, Essex. He began listening to hip-hop in the mid-'80s and later DJed with the British rap act Cut to Kill before moving on to acid house later in the decade. The fledgling hardcore breakbeat sound was perfect for an old hip-hop fan fluent in up-tempo dance music, and Howlett began producing tracks in his bedroom studio during 1988. His first release, the EP What Evil Lurks, became a major mover on the fledgling rave scene in 1990. After Howlett met up with Keith Flint and Leeroy Thornhill (both Essex natives as well) in the growing British rave scene, the trio formed the Prodigy later that year. Howlett's recordings gained the trio a contract with XL Records, which re-released What Evil Lurks in February 1991.

Six months later, Howlett issued his second single "Charly," built around a sample from a children's public-service announcement. It hit number one on the British dance charts, then crossed over to the pop charts, stalling only at number three. (It wasn't long before a copycat craze saw the launch of rave takeoffs on Speed Racer, The Magic Roundabout and Sesame Street) Two additional Prodigy singles, "Everybody in the Place" and "Fire/Jericho," charted in the U.K. during late 1991 and early 1992.

The Prodigy showed they were no one-anthem wonders in late 1992, with the release of The Prodigy Experience, one of the first LPs by a rave act. Mixing chunky breakbeats with vocal samples from dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, it hit the Top Ten and easily went gold. During 1993, Howlett added a ragga/hip-hop MC named Maxim Reality (Keeti Palmer) and occupied himself with remix work for Front 242, Jesus Jones and Art of Noise. He also released the white-label single "Earthbound" to fool image-conscious DJs who had written off the Prodigy as hopelessly commercial. Late 1993 brought the commercial release of "Earthbound" (as the group's seventh consecutive Top 20 singles entry, "One Love").

After several months of working on tracks, Howlett issued the next Prodigy single, "No Good (Start the Dance)." Despite the fact that the single's hook was a sped-up diva-vocal tag (an early rave staple), the following album Music for the Jilted Generation provided a transition for the group, from piano pieces and rave-signal tracks to more guitar-integrated singles like "Voodoo People." The album also continued Prodigy's allegiance to breakbeat drum'n'bass; though the style had only recently become commercially viable (after a long gestation period in the dance underground), Howlett had been incorporating it from the beginning of his career. Music for the Jilted Generation entered the British charts at number one and went gold in its first week of release. The album was also nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, as one of the best albums of the year.

The Prodigy spent much of 1994 and 1995 touring around the world, and made a splashy appearance at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival, proving that electronica could make it in a live venue. The group had already made a transition from the club/rave circuit to more traditional rock venues, and the Glastonbury show set in stone the fact that they were no longer just a dance group. Flint's newly emerged persona -- the consummate in-your-face punk showman and master of ceremonies for the digital-age crowd -- provided a point of reference for rock critics uncomfortable covering Howlett (whom they saw as a glorified keyboard player).

The Prodigy's incessant road schedule left little time to record, but Howlett managed to bring out the next new Prodigy single in March 1996. "Firestarter" entered the British charts at number one, though the video was almost banned due to complaints about arson fixation; many Top of the Pops viewers also complained that Keith Flint had scared their children. An unmissable guitar hook and Flint's catcall vocal antics -- his first on record -- made it a quick worldwide hit and though "Firestarter" wasn't a major success in the U.S., its high-profile spot in MTV's Buzz Bin introduced the Prodigy to many Americans and helped fuel the major-label push for electronica during the following year (though the Prodigy did reject collaborative offers from David Bowie, U2 and Madonna). In the middle of the electronica buzz, the Prodigy dropped their third album, The Fat of the Land. Despite rather obvious attempts to court mainstream rock fans (including several guest-vocalist spots and an L7 cover), the LP entered both British and American charts at number one, shifting several million units worldwide. The next Prodigy full-length was 1999's The Dirtchamber Sessions, a mix album helmed by Howlett.

The "Baby's Got a Temper" single -- one Howlett would later disown -- appeared in 2002 and soon after Leeroy Thornhill left the band. Maxim and Keith Flint were still in the band but they weren't to be found on 2004's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Instead the album featured guest spots from Oasis' Liam Gallagher, Kool Keith, Twista, and actress Juliette Lewis. Flint and Maxim did join Howlett for a worldwide tour to support the album that launched in October 2004.

The Prodigy showcased four new songs at the Oxegen Festival in the early hours of 13 July 2008. Among the tracks previewed were "Worlds on Fire", "Warriors Dance", "Mescaline", and "First Warning", which was featured in the gangster movie Smokin' Aces and as among the songs featured in the soundtrack for Electronic Arts video game Need for Speed: Undercover.

Invaders Must Die was released on 21 February 2009 in Australia and in Europe on 23 February 2009, charting at number one in the UK with week one sales of over 97,000 – a higher figure than for either Always Outnumbered or their singles collection. The album also reached the top five in Germany and Australia and top 10 in Norway and several other European countries.

On March 18, 2010, The Prodigy announced through their website and mailing list a showing of World's on Fire, a film made mostly from footage of the Warrior's Dance festival from July 2010, for one night only in selected cinemas across Europe. Recorded before 65,000 fans, World's on Fire is the debut live film of The Prodigy, documenting their biggest concert to date. The CD, DVD, and Blu-ray of World's on Fire was released on 23 May 2011.

The upcoming 3rd album by Prodigy (of Mobb Deep). "H.N.I.C. 3" was released June 29, 2012 and includes guest features from T.I., Wiz Khalifa, Esther, Willie Taylor (of Day 26) to name but a few.

Studio albums:
-Experience (1992)
-Music for the Jilted Generation (1994)
-The Fat of the Land (1997)
- Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (2004)
-Invaders Must Die (2009)
- H.N.I.C. 3 (2012)

Live album:
-World's on Fire (2011)

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