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The Prodigy are an English electronic dance music band formed in Braintree, Essex, in 1990 by producer, keyboard player and songwriter Liam Howlett. The original line-up also featured dancer and singer Keith Flint and dancer and occasional live keyboard player Leeroy Thornhill, dancer Sharky, and MC and vocalist Maxim. They were pioneers of the breakbeat-influenced genre big beat, and achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s. Howlett's rock-inspired drum rhythms infused with electronic rave music beats/breaks were combined with Maxim's vocals, Thornhill's shuffle dancing style, and Flint's later modern punk appearance. The Prodigy describe their style as electronic punk.
The band emerged during the underground rave scene and achieved early success in 1991 with their debut singles "Charly" and "Everybody in the Place", which reached the UK top five. After their debut album Experience (1992), the band moved from their rave roots and incorporated techno, breakbeat, and rock influences on their follow-up, the critically-acclaimed Music for the Jilted Generation (1994). They reached their commercial and critical peak with their third studio album The Fat of the Land (1997), which went to No. 1 in 16 countries including the UK and the US and spawned the UK number one singles "Firestarter" and "Breathe". The album's third single, "Smack My Bitch Up", was a UK top ten hit and generated considerable controversy over its suggestive lyrics and music video. In July 2022, the band completed their first tour since the death of frontman Keith Flint in March 2019.
In 1989, 18-year-old DJ, musician, and songwriter Liam Howlett returned to his hometown of Braintree, Essex after quitting his gig as DJ in the hip-hop group Cut to Kill. He had started to make his own music three years prior, beginning with hip-hop and house music before he focused on the rave scene that was gaining popularity at the time. He preferred the non-confrontational atmosphere that raves brought, and began to work DJ sets in the local area while working on original music at home.
It was in Braintree where Howlett met dancers Keith Flint and Leeroy Thornhill at one of his gigs at The Barn nightclub. Flint requested Howlett make a mix tape for him, to which Howlett obliged and returned a cassette several days later with some of his own songs on the other side. Howlett had scratched the word "Prodigy" onto the cassette, referring to the Moog Prodigy synthesizer which he used to make some of the music. The tape was well received by Flint and Thornhill, who developed new dance sequences to the music and suggested to Howlett they begin a group together. The three settled on The Prodigy as their name and enlisted a fourth live member, female dancer and vocalist Sharky, a friend of Flint's, and on October 5, 1990 the group was officially formed. Their first gig was organized by the promoter called Ziggy (who became their first manager) and took place at The Four Aces Club (then called Labrynth) in Dalston, London on Friday night, February 1991, which Howlett described as the roughest venue in the city. Shortly before the first gig, the group met rapper and MC Maxim, then known as Maxim Reality and Keeti. Flint pitched for Maxim to join the group on the strength of his connections with the reggae scene and the music contacts he had developed. Maxim failed to turn up at a scheduled meeting, but joined The Prodigy unexpectedly at their first gig, where he improvised lyrics on stage.
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the UK. All you have to think about is enjoying every moment.
New to Zenseats?