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Prodigy Biography

Home > Music > P > Prodigy > Biography

Birth Place: Braintree, Essex
Years Active: 1990-present
Genres: Big Beat, Breakbeat, Rave, Electronica, Hardcore Techno

The Prodigy is an English electronic dance music group formed by Liam Howlett in 1990 in Braintree, Essex. Along with Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method, as well as other acts, members of 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's brand of big beat music makes use of various styles ranging from rave, hardcore techno, industrial and breakbeat in the early 1990s to electronic rock with punk vocal elements in later times. The current band members include Liam Howlett (composer/keyboards), Keith Flint (dancer/vocalist) and Maxim (MC/vocalist). Leeroy Thornhill (dancer/very occasional live keyboards) was a member of the band from 1990 to 2000, as was a female dancer/vocalist called Sharky who left the band during their early period. The Prodigy first emerged on the underground rave scene in the early 1990s, and has since then achieved immense popularity and worldwide renown.

The Prodigy's first release was the 1991 rave song "What Evil Lurks," released on 12" vinyl in a limited number. The single and its B-sides were included as part of a 10-track demo Howlett sent to XL Recordings.

The Prodigy's first full-length release came a year later, 1992's “Experience,” on XL Recordings. The album peaked at #12 in the UK and was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. The band followed up in 1994 with “Music for the Jilted Generation,” which peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom, and broke into the Billboard 200 in the United States.

The Prodigy's biggest hit is their 1997 album “The Fat of the Land,” which peaked at number 1 in eight countries, and was certified multi-Platinum in five countries. Three singles from the album also charted well, including "Firestarter" which was certified Gold in the UK and the US, and "Breathe", which was certified Platinum in the UK and double Platinum in Australia. “The Fat of the Land” also included the controversial single "Smack My Bitch Up," the video for which saw limited airplay because of its content.

In 1999, Howlett released “The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One,” a mix-album produced entirely by himself (Prodigy was used as a moniker). The album failed to chart in the UK and peaked at #136 in the US. After a five year hiatus, the Prodigy released their fourth full-length album, “Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned,” which peaked at #1 in the UK and on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart.

In 2005, the band released a compilation album, “Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005,” which included a remix of their 1994 single "Voodoo People". The band's fifth studio album “Invaders Must Die” was released on 23 February 2009 in the United Kingdom.

In the US the band has sold a certified 2 million albums and 500,000 singles. In the UK they have sold a certified 2.7 million albums and 1.8 million singles.