Liam Paris Howlett (Born August 21, 1971) in the late 80’s worked as a hip-hop dj in the band: ‘Cut to Kill’. 1987 `CK’ signed a contract that excluded Liam, there was much controversy that Liam was excluded because he was white. Liam left the hip-hop scene and became a house dj in Essex. While dj’ing at the club ‘The Barn’ Liam met former ravers Keith Flint (Born March 27, 1969), and Leeroy Thornhill (Born October 8, 1968). Keith and Leeroy liked Liams music so much they asked for a mixed tape, Liam included his dj’ing on one side and his own music on the other. Shortly after Keith, Leeroy and Keiths friend Sharky asked Liam if they could dance when he played live. Liam said yes…
Ziggy (their former and first manager) organized a live appearance at ‘The Labyrinth’ in 1990 for the four, Liam was ready for a live show but he felt they needed an MC. Friends recommended ‘Maxim Reality’ (aka Keeti Palmer born March 21, 1967). Liam met Maxim and the live gig was set and the original five member band was formed.
Liam Howlett – Dj, Songwriter
Maxim Reality – MC
Keith Flint- On Stage Dancer
Leeroy Thornhill – On Stage Dancer
Sharky – On Stage Dancer, also the only female member of the group.
In 1991 the band ‘The Prodigy’ released their first single: ‘What Evil Lurks’, it is a four track single that sold seven thousand copies coming in at #31 on the UK Dance Chart. This single gave the prodigy a small voice in the UK scene, their next single would make the prodigy heard across the entire island.
Released also in 1991 sored to #3 in the UK Single Charts and #1 in the UK Dance Charts. This track included a sample of a famous public information road safety advertisment. The prodigy found themselves in a whirlwind of publicity, the song being one if not the first rave song to make it in the main stream charts brought a back lash of negative publicity from the media and the raving community. Articles along the line of ‘Did Charly Kill Rave’ were not an un-common sight for months. Liam was upset by the negative media attention but continued forward with the band.
Before the release of there next single, on stage dancer and the only female member of the group Sharky, left the prodigy. With just four of the original members remaining the Prodigy released their next single `Everybody in the Place’. Which hit the #2 spot in the charts and proved the Prodigy could handle their press.
Following Everybody in the Place the Prodigy released two more singles ‘Fire’ and ‘Out of Space’ in 1992 and finally in the same year the Prodigy debut album was released.
‘Experience’ a 12 track album that brought the under ground rave scene to the main stream world prodigy style. This album is famous for its `bouncy rave tunes’ and capturing a time in the 90’s rave culture in the UK. In 1993 the Prodigy released the final single from Experience, titled ‘Wind it Up’.
The next step for the Prodigy was the live shows, and that is what all four of the band members dedicated their time to. Any kid in the UK would say the Prodigy live gigs were like nothing they had ever been to. The Prodigy set out on gigs across the UK.
Liam having liked the success of Experience felt the Prodigy needed to change in their music style but feared the publics reaction. In 1993 The Prodigy released the single ‘One Love’ under a fake white label named ‘Earthbound’ (Which is the name of Liams home studio). After seeing the public reaction to One Love the prodigy quickly re-released One Love under the Prodigy, proving to the music scene that not only did the Prodigy want to change but that they could change.
Liam begin working on the new album but struggled along due to so many influences. Finally in July 1994 the Prodigy released their second album ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’. The album remained for four months in the UK Top 20 and sold more then a million copies. Following the album came the release of the singles ‘No Good (start the dance)’ which hit in at a top 5 single. Then ‘Voodoo People’ and ‘Poison’.
At the end of 1994 and straight into 1995 the Prodigy went on a world wide tour, which included America, Australia and Europe. The US did not welcome the Prodigy. In the summer of 1995 the Prodigy found themselves playing at festivals that mainly covered rock groups. Two of these festivals were: ‘Tribal Gathering’ and ‘Glastonbury’ in the UK.
After returning home from their world tour Liam hit the studio to later release in March 1996 the single ‘Firestarter’ which went #1 in half a dozen European countries including the UK where it sold a million copies and topped the UK Singles Chart for three weeks. This track which featured a style the Prodigy had yet to release paved the way for the Prodigy to enter the US, hitting the US charts in the top 10. The Prodigy had now taken America. Following Firestarter the Prodigy released their second single ‘Breathe’ which also hit the UK Charts at # 1 and sold 700,000 copies world wide. `Breathe’ also topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. Finally in 1997 Prodigy released the much awaited album `The Fat of the Land’, the album entered the UK Album Charts at #1, sold 7 million copies and topped the UK Album Charts for three weeks. It was an instant international success heading straight to #1 in 22 countries including the US and became a double-platinum album. Following the album release the Prodigy released their third single ‘Smack my Bitch Up’ which generated a ton of media outrage due to the lyrics of the song and its ‘pornographic’ video. The video which ended up being banned on most music stations seemed not to bother the Prodigy, though they released several statements about the single. Despite all the negative press the Prodigy still managed to take home ‘Best British Dance Act’ at the 1998 ‘Britt Awards’.
The Prodigy take home an MTV Europe Award for `Best Dance Act’ in 1994.
The Prodigy take home an MTV Video Award for `Viewer’s Choice’ for their single `Breathe’ and they are nominated for `Best Dance Video’ in the USA in September, 1997
4TH Annual MTV Europe Music Awards held this year in the Netherlands the Prodigy won `Best Dance’, `Best Alternative’, and `Best Video’ for their single `Breathe’ in November, 1997.
The Readers of `Rolling Stone’ named Prodigy the `Best Electronic Artist of the Year’ in December, 1997.
Brit Awards held in London Prodigy won `Best British Dance Act’ in February, 1998.
Prodigy are nominated for a Grammy, `Best Alternative Music Performance’ for `Fat of the Land’ in February, 1998.
MTV Video Music Awards (USA) Prodigy took home `Breakthrough Video’ and `Best Dance Video’ for `Smack my Bitch Up’. They were also nominated for `Best Direction’ and `Best Editing’ in September, 1998.
MTV Europe Music Awards Prodigy take home `Best Dance Video’ in October, 1998.
They finally got their much deserved time off! Though most of 1998 to 1999 was spent relaxing the Prodigy occasionally got together for gigs, though not many.
Maxim released his solo single ‘My Web’ and Leeroy remixed Dr. Dooms’: ‘Leave me Alone’, and Liam, though under the name of the Prodigy, release ‘The Dirtchamber Session Volume 1’. This album showcased Liams ability to mix and tied him together with his hip-hop roots.
In 2000 there was tons of media hype about the Prodigys new album to be released, Liam was in the studios but could not get anything together, he felt that the direction was a little lost. So the Prodigy released the title of the new album: ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’. But no album followed. Maxim releases two singles ‘Carmen Queasy’ and ‘Scheming’ in his solo project and finally his much awaited album ‘Hells Kitchen’. Leeroy changes his dj alias from ‘Longman’ to ‘Flightcrank’ and released his second solo single: ‘Flightcrank Ep’. April 2001 brought Leeroys commercially available album ‘Beyond All Reasonable Doubt’ followed by the single ‘Amazing’. It is in April of 2001 that Leeroy Thornhill offically quits the Prodigy, stating he has not felt like a member for the last several years. June 2001 the Prodigy release the album `Experience Expanded’ An LP of their first album with all the traxs remixed.
The original three members of the Prodigy went on to do more live gigs mostly with old material.However in 2001 they released two new tracks while on tour: ‘Trigger’ and ‘Nuclear’. In 2002 the Prodigy found themselves headlining the ‘Big Day Out’ festival in Australia and New Zealand, where they revealed the up and coming single ‘Baby’s got a Temper’. They later released the single and a dvd that featured the music video plus bonus material. The rest of 2002 and all of 2003 saw little from the Prodigy, Liam was working in the studio. In June 2004 the Prodigy released the 12′ double sided promo ‘Girls/ Memphis Bells’. Finally in August 2004 the Prodigy released their long-anticipated album `Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’.Despite the fact that the album was leaked on the net months before it was released, AONO went straight into the #1 spot on the Uk Album charts. It made it into the Top 10 chart entries around the world, except for the USA where in its first week AONO sold only 16,000. copies and entered the Billboard Top Electronic Album Chart at #62. Later on in August the Prodigy released the video and single ‘Girls’, which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 19. November 1st, 2004 the Prodigy release their second single ‘HotRide’. With there third single `Spitfire’ to be released in February, 2005.
The Prodigy started up their world tour 2004. The lucky country of Greece in October start the Prodigy off on World Tour’04. For the rest of October and all of November the Prodigy are all over Europe. The first two weeks of December the Prodigy are back on home soil, with gigs all over the UK Island. Enter the Holidays, enter the New Year.
BBC Radio 1 Offical UK Charts as of the 9th of January, 2005 for Top 40 Dance Albums the Prodigy find two listings: `The Fat of the Land’ at #10 and `Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’ at #17. For Top 40 Dance Single the Prodigy have `Charly’ at #32.
December 08, 2004 The Prodigy are nominated for ` Best Electronic /Dance Album’ at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards in the USA.
September 29, 2004 the Prodigy are nominated for `Best Dance Act’ and `Best Video’ at the 2004 Digital Music Awards UK.
October 07, 2004 the Prodigy are nominated for `Best Alternative Act’ at the MTV Europe 2004 Music Awards held in Rome.
October 14, 2004 The Prodigy are nominated in the UK’s `Channel 4′ current Music Hall of Fame Series. The series honours the greatest musicians of the last fifty years.
December 08, 2004 The Prodigy are nominated for ‘Best Electronic Dance Album’ at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards in the USA.
Liam Howlett, Maxim Reality and Keith Flint.
Stuck together for you by Nicole aka Annie – 2004 theprodigy.nl