The Prodigy are back… and it’s about time too. The seminal rave act – now a two-piece after the tragic passing of Keith Flint – have announced a series of dates for next summer, in Ireland, Austria and Spain, with more to follow no doubt.
With that in mind, back in October, we asked 909originals readers to vote for their all time favourite track by The Prodigy, a call-out that received a fantastic response, with hundreds of you logging on to cast your vote.
Now, the votes have been tabulated, and we can exclusively reveal the top ten The Prodigy tracks of all time, as voted by YOU. Without further ado, in reverse order….
10 -Firestarter (3.89% of total votes)
“I’m the trouble starter, punkin’ instigator…” With these words, Keith Flint went from background dancer to punk frontman – a ‘schizo-barmy Mr C meeting a speedball-bonkers Gary Glitter in hell’, as the NME put it at the time. A snarling statement of intent that ushered in a new era for The Prodigy’s career. 909originals has written about its influence here.
9 – Smack My Bitch Up (4.67% of total votes)
Sampling Ultramagnetic MCs’ Give The Drummer Some, this was The Prodigy’s most controversial track to date on its release, and a barnstorming way to introduce 1997 album The Fat of the Land. The accompanying video, which we discuss in more detail here, only served to embellish the track’s allure. “To be honest, we’re ready for whatever is thrown at us,” Liam Howlett told MTV as the firestorm took hold.
8 – Break & Enter (5.06% of total votes)
The first proper track on The Prodigy’s second album Music for the Jilted Generation, with a title that evokes the rave spirit – well, you have to get into those warehouses somehow? – Break & Enter is a scything rave cut, powered by machine gun breaks, which samples Baby D’s Casanova, a track that was remixed separately by Liam Howlett.
7 – Weather Experience (6.61% of total votes)
Kicking off with BBC weatherman Michael Fish and a snippet of the Shipping Forecast, Weather Experience is arguably the most experimental track on The Prodigy’s first album, Experience, with two distinct ‘movements’ – a dubby trip hop intro making way for an acid tinged rave up.
As the intro intones,“A good deal of sunshine to begin with, clouding over somewhat later on.” Indeed.
6 – Voodoo People (7.09% of total votes)
“The voodoo, who do, what you don’t dare do people…” The third single from Music For the Jilted Generation, this Nirvana-sampling track combined hard rock, flute riffs and savage beats – ‘a sort of Jethro Tull-goes-hardcore’, as journalist Brad Beatnik put it at the time.
The accompanying video, which featured Leeroy Thornhill as a voodoo priest, helped further the track’s allure. Voodoo People was later remixed by drum’n’bass outfit Pendulum, but to be honest nothing beats the origina.
5 – Your Love (8.17% of total votes)
A proper piano-led rave classic, which took the energy created by Wind It Up, the preceding track on Experience, and raised it up a notch. Originally featured on the August 1991 single release of Charly, The Prodigy haven’t included Your Love in their live sets since 2009 – if you ask us, it’s about time they changed that.
4 – Everybody in the Place (8.56% of total votes)
The Prodigy’s third single, Everybody in the Place was arguably the group’s most important, transforming them from just another ‘toytown techno’ outfit – as with Charly, sampling cartoons and old commercials was de rigeur for dance acts of the time – into a rave phenomenon.
It reached number 2 in the charts, notably kept off the top spot by the re-release of Bohemian Rhapsody following the death of Freddie Mercury.
3 – Out of Space (9.73% of total votes)
“I’ll take your brain to another dimension, pay close attention…” The highest-ranked Experience track in our chart, Out of Space rewrote the rulebook on rave – blending the dub reggae classic Chase the Devil by Max Romeo into the mix has to be one of the most inspired decisions of Liam Howlett’s career.
Hat tip to Keith Flint for his Altern-8 send-up in the accompanying video. It’s even got an ostrich. A truly epic track.
2 – Android (11.28% of total votes)
The track that started it all. Featured on the group’s debut single, What Evil Lurks, it stems from a 10-track demo a young Liam Hewlett gave to XL Recordings having just left rap crew Cut 2 Kill.
As XL’s Nick Halkes told 909originals recently, “[Liam] phoned up the label and asked if he could come down and play me some demos. I said ‘cool, ‘come on down!’ I’ve always been thankful that I didn’t say ‘just send me them in the post please, mate’ because who knows – maybe history would have been different and he’d have signed to a label that found the time to meet in person.”
Android is famously also notable for a white-label version that did the rounds some years back featuring samples of Pope John Paul II and Ian Paisley – read more about that here.
1 – No Good (Start the Dance) (12.84% of total votes)
“You’re no good for me, I don’t need nobody…” Arguably the zenith of The Prodigy’s rave period, No Good (Start the Dance) landed in May 1994, and elevated The Prodigy from ‘just another dance group’ into one of the UK’s biggest acts, and with good reason.
Built around an oft-used sample from Kelly Charles, and backed by a video that would tease the group’s visual identity to follow, Howlett described the track as “a response to all that shit Eurodance stuff”, and we can think of no better way of describing it. Raw, uncompromising brilliance. Play it loud. 🙂
Honourable mention should go to a few tracks that fell just outside the top ten, including Poison, Charly, Wind It Up, Breathe, and Climbatize (a particular favourite here at 909originals towers). Check out the full vote here.