Members: Liam Howlett, Keith Flint, Maxim Reality
Formed: Braintree, England
Albums: Experience (1992); Music for the Jilted Generation (1994); The Fat of the Land (1997); Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (2004); Invaders Must Die (2009)
Awards: 3 VMAs, 2 Brit Awards, 2 Grammy Nominations
Hits: "Firestarter", "Breathe", "Smack My Bitch Up"
Other: The band's namesake Moog Prodigy synthesizer has also been used by Nine Inch Nails, Fatboy Slim, and Depeche Mode.
The story goes that The Prodigy owe their name to the "Moog Prodigy," the first synthesizer owned by founding member Liam Howlett. The group that would come to be known for helping to define the big beat genre of electronic music made their first impression on rave scene in the UK in the early 90s. Releasing singles that received mixed critical reception but heavy play on the rave scene, the groups following grew before the release of their first full length album: Experience.
Experience turned the critics around and peaked at #12 on the UK charts. It would eventually be certified Platinum in the UK, and is still regarded as one of The Prodigy's best works. The album spawned a string of hit singles in the UK, including the #2 "Everybody in the Place." While the band's popularity in rave circles helped springboard it to success, that popularity became a problem.
1994's Music for the Jilted Generation was a response to what Howlett felt was a corruption of the rave scene, one that had broken into the mainstream. This was compounded by the UK's crackdown on raves, outlawing them. Music for the Jilted Generation addressed both issues in the rather direct manner the band was known for. It captured #1 in the UK charts, though the singles from the album generally under performed compared to their first album.
The Prodigy were poised for their first taste of worldwide fame when they released The Fat of the Land. The 1997 album climbed charts worldwide, peaking at #1 in the UK, US, and all across Europe. The album would go double Platinum in in the US and triple in the UK. The Fat of the Land delivered the band two #1 singles with "Firestarter" and "Breathe", and solidified the band's place as one of the top acts in EDM.
The Fat of the Land brought international success with a helping of controversy thanks to the track "Smack My Bitch Up". The titular lyric wasn't even written by the band, but, rather, sampled from Ultramagnetic MCs' track "Give the Drummer Some." The track resulted in boycotts, and the album's removal from shelves in Wal-Mart and Kmart. The risque video that accompanied it only compounded the problem. The song was eventually voted the most controversial of all time by PRS for Music.
The Prodigy went on an extended hiatus in 1999 that lasted until they reunited in 2002. The album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned followed in 2004. While it wasn't the international hit that The Fat of the Land was, it did give the band another #1 album in the UK. The reunited band's follow-up, Invaders Must Die, fared better, earning their fourth UK chart topper and another double platinum sales performance after a warmer reception by critics.
The Prodigy continue to tour and make new music. They were called one of the "50 Bands to See Before You Die" by Q magazine. Energetic performances of their punk flavored electronica pack in audiences all over the world. Be sure to hear the band that is an indelible part of electronic music's history when they fill an arena near you.