Biography The Prodigy
The British band The Prodigy (Prodigy) is one of the most popular electronic groups in the world, which began its activity in the early 90s. They are considered pioneers of the big-beat genre along with Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers. Liam Howlett, Keith Flint, Leroy Thornhill, Maxim Reality – the four, although not from Liverpool, have won numerous fans not only in England, but also abroad.
History of creation
The Prodigy group was formed in 1990, however, initially it was not a quartet – there were five members. The founder of the band, Liam Howlett from Braintree, was fond of West Indian reggae and hip-hop from adolescence, at the age of 14 he began to mix songs, recording various excerpts from songs on the radio on a tape recorder, and in the late 80s he became interested in rave culture and began to attend rave parties.
Young Liam Howlett, founder of Prodigy
When the clubs closed, Liam drove his music van to the beach and put on music for the partygoers who didn’t want to stop the party. On one of these nights, 21-year-old Keith Flint met him. He praised Liam’s music, he gave him a cassette of his mixes, and at the next party, a new acquaintance convinced Howlett that he needed to do it professionally.
And so the Prodigy was born. The word was written on the cassette that Liam gave Keith, but it actually showed the make of the synthesizer that Howlett used to make this music – Moog Prodigy. In general, “prodigy” is translated as “a genius, a very gifted person.”
The composition of The Prodigy soon established itself. Howlett wrote the words and music for all the tracks, and played the keyboard during concerts. Keith Flint was originally just a dancer, but later, since 1996, he began to sing (after a successful debut in the song “Firestarter”), and thanks to the extravagant image of a psychopath, he became the face of the group.
Members of The Prodigy in their youth
Maxim Reality (Keith Palmer’s pseudonym) was on vocals from the very beginning and also took on the role of showman at concerts. Two-meter Leroy Thornhill became a dancer and, like the band’s frontman, played the synthesizer at concerts.
At the very beginning, a girl named Sharkey performed at Prodigy
Also at the origins of Prodigy was the dancer and vocalist Sharkey, the only girl in the group for all these years.
The main stages of creativity
The first performance of The Prodigy was successfully held in 1990 in the London club “Labyrinth”. Soon rumors about the new stars of the rave scene reached the label XL Recordings. Howlett, secretly from the rest of the group, signed a contract with them. After that, Sharkey left the lineup – she just liked to dance on stage to her favorite music, and now things were taking too serious a turn. Sharkey remained friendly with Liam and company, and in 2005 appeared in the music video for “Voodoo People Pendulum Remix”.
Early in their career, Prodigy signed with XL Records.
Tours in England brought the team the first commercial success, and then the recognition of English fans of electronic music. The image of the new-style pilgrims wandering the country put Prodigy one step ahead of other electronic bands.
The Prodigy concerts were full of madness
The debut mini-album What Evil Lurks, which included 4 tracks out of the originally proposed ten, became the first signs on the way to world fame. The first single “Charly”, which was released next, caused mixed reactions. Some critics noted the increased psychedelic and danceability, others believed that “Charlie” “killed the rave culture.” The dark sound of this track was really radically different from the rest of the artists of the genre. But those who liked the Prodigy experiments were more. The clash of two opposing points of view caused a sensation, followed by a sharp jump in interest in the group. The band’s first studio album, titled “Experience”, which later became gold and topped the English music chart for twenty-five weeks, brought Prodigy long-awaited fame far beyond the borders of Britain: they were waiting for tours in Europe, America and Australia. The record, which received platinum status, is characterized by high speed (almost all compositions have a bpm over 140) and a mixture of techno and jungle styles.
Album cover «Experience»
Both critics and fans unanimously note that the album “Music for the Jilted Generation” (“Music for the Lost Generation”, 1994) became an outstanding event in the work of Prodigy. Authoritative music publications unanimously secured the title “Event of the Year” for the album. With new and old tracks, the band performed at the Glastonbury Festival, where it was recognized as the best band in the history of this event.
But all previous achievements were easily beaten by the album “The Fat of the Land” (“Salt of the Earth”, 1997). It was he who got into the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest-selling album (in the first week in Britain alone it was bought 300 thousand times) in the UK and nominated for a Grammy. Subsequently, the album was waiting for more than a million discs sold, the status of double platinum in the US, leadership in the US Billboard Top 200 chart.
Keith Flint was the brash and flamboyant “face” of the group.
The single “Smack My Bitch Up” (1997), more precisely, the video for this track, was banned from showing in a number of countries due to scenes of drug use, sex and vandalism. Due to obscene language on radio stations, the song was played only at night. But all this only fueled the audience’s interest in “the most scandalous group in history.” In 1998, Howlett was named one of the 100 richest people in the world by Q magazine.
But after the white stripe came black. 1999 was a black year for many Prodigy fans. Keith Flint, who loved motorcycle racing, crashed on a motorcycle and injured his knee, rumors began to creep about his death. Performances ceased for the next two years. Then, in April 2000, Leeroy left the project, believing the band had reached a creative dead end. He started his solo career as a DJ.
Leroy Thornhill chose a solo career
The album “Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned” (Idiom, which can be translated as “quality, not quantity”, 2004) is the fourth, but it is no longer recorded by the four and is strikingly different from the previous Prodigy music. Keith and Maxim did not take part in the recording, but many guest stars visited the recording studio, including the soloists of the Oasis group. The album resulted in a Grammy Award for Best Electronic Dance Album of the Year. But the change of image does not bring already that flurry of admiration of the audience.
The Prodigy made a big comeback in 2004
In 2005, the Prodigy best singles collection saw the light of day, which also included several rare tracks that had not been released before: “Razor”, “The Way It Is”, “Back 2 Skool”, “Voodoo Beats”.
After almost five years of silence, Howlett decided to return to the old style, which was confirmed by several tracks of the new album “Invaders Must Die” (“Invaders Must Die”). The group, now a trio, presented the singles “Omen” and “Worlds On Fire” to the public.
In 2009, the album Invaders Must Die was released.
And again, for more than five years, Prodigy hides in the twilight. Or rather, in the night, because the title of the new album sounds like: “Day is my enemy.” But there are other versions, for what reason the album was called that way. Mentioned in this connection are the lines from the songs of Ella Fitzgerald and Cole Porter: “Day is my enemy, night is my friend.” The premiere of the single “Nasty” is taking place with success, a video clip for the song “Wild Frontier” has been released on YouTube … Someone says that the Prodigy group can no longer return to its former glory – young performers and new musical trends are stepping on the heels of veterans of the big beat scene. But we at uznayvse.ru have no doubt that Liam and company will pleasantly surprise us more than once.
In 2000, Liroy left the group, voicing a dozen reasons to the public: from emotional burnout to claims against the leader regarding “how long can I be just a dancer?” In fact, the scandal stemmed from Leeroy’s desire to create his own album, which he nevertheless released a year later as a full-length studio album called “Beyond All Reasonable Doubt”. Thornhill was quite satisfied with the further career of a DJ, with which he traveled almost the whole world.
The strained relations in the Prodigy are sparingly mentioned by Maxim, whose absence was noticed during the recording of the 2004 album. Liam speaks out on this matter much more sharply, calling his colleague a creative impotent and other unflattering words.
Despite internal strife, the Prodigy group continues its creative activity, however, with the departure of Thornhill, acting as a trio.
- Experience (1992)
- Music for the Jilted Generation (1994)
- The Fat of the Land (1997)
- Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (2004)
- Invaders Must Die (2009)
- Day Is My Enemy (2015)
The Prodigy now
The spring of 2018 was marked for the Prodigy group with an exciting tour of Russia, which covered Chelyabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Kazan and both capitals – Moscow and St. Petersburg. Before that, back in 2016, they gave concerts in Russian cities, which included Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Novosibirsk.
The new Prodigy album will be released in November 2018
In the summer of 2018, the band released a video for the track “Need Some 1”, which will be included in the new Prodigy album “No Tourists”. This is the seventh (hopefully not the last) studio album, which fans of the legendary band are looking forward to. The release of the album with ten new compositions by Prodigy is announced for November 2, 2018.
On March 4, 2019, Prodigy vocalist Keith Flint was found dead. According to preliminary data, he committed suicide. “I can not believe it. Our brother Keith Flint ended his life last weekend. I am angry and shocked, my heart is broken. Rest in peace. Your brother Liam,” Howlett wrote on the band’s official Instagram.