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The Prodigy-A Case Study

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The Prodigy-a case study

My task in this case study is to write about a band/artist that has reached public prominence in the last 10 years within the u.k and that have also had at least one top 20 single within the u.k singles chart. Their music must be completely original and they must have produced at least 1 hit album. The band I am about to write about in this case study is the Dance/Rap band whom some people call the techno terrorists, The Prodigy.

Early History

The Prodigy consisted of 5 original members, 2 dancers, 1 DJ and 2 M.C.s, however before these 5 met the Prodigy didn't exist and only was a thought inside the DJ and musical genius Liam Howlett's head.

Howlett was certainly the musical force behind the Prodigy sound. He was born in 1974 in Braintree in Essex. He was educated in music as a classical piano player. As he grew older he began to listen to early ska and punk and by secondary school Liam had become very much attracted to the hip-hop scene and listened to bands like Grand master flash and Run Dmc. Only a few years later, still very much influenced by hip-hop, Liam had saved up enough cash to by two decks or turntables and became the DJ for a rap band called "Cut to Kill". The band eventually secured a record contract with a record company named "Tam Tam records". Yet the record deal excluded Liam, despite the fact that the band used one of his tracks to win the contract. After this betrayal Liam left the band, started to loose faith in the rap scene and started to look for brighter more promising areas in music.

While Liam was DJ-ing in the hip-hop scene, a new wave of illegal music had taken to the underground scene - Acid House. This used technology to create fast and powerful head stimulating beats that could never be simulated or created by human beings. The only way to experience this sort of music was to go to large illegal warehouse parties that eventually formed the foundation for what is now known as a rave.

Liam's first experience of this was at a place called the barn in Rayne, he thought it was the best thing he had ever been to and even begin DJ-ing at some of these illegal underground events. This was then where Liam met dancer Leroy Thornhill and singer/dancer Keith Flint. Leroy was 6'7 tall and had lightning fast feet, he was also a James brown fanatic and a regular raver. Keith was a fan of biking, smoking dope and also a devotee to the rave culture. The three of them became great friends and regularly went out together and became popular characters around the local rave scene. It was then around that time that Liam asked Keith and Leroy to hear one of his own original mixers that he had created. Keith and Leroy were so impressed that after bringing in another dancer named Sharkey the Prodigy was formed.

History after band's formation

Around that same time the prodigy formed they also gained their first and now former manager "Ziggy". He was able to organize a live gig at "The Labyrinth" in London for the four band members. Liam felt that the band desired an M.C. to boost the vibe and energy at their concerts. This is then where he was put in contact with the Black powerful M'C, Maxim Reality who was a widely recognized M.C around the Nottingham cicuit. . Tapes were exchanged but their debut gig was at such short notice that they met on the night of the show. The promoter told them that the two previous P.A.s had been bottled off after 5 minutes!

With this line-up, the Prodigy started to do what few dance acts before them had done-they gigged. The first gigs the prodigy performed at were very small and didn't have many people attending them. In their fifth gig at Hatfield College, there were only nine people in the audience including five staff. In contrast their twelfth gig in February 1992 was at Raindance, Cambridgeshire- a massive rave attended by 12,000 people. So their early gigging history was a mix of small venues when they played as a single or supporting act and larger venues where they played as part of a rave. A detailed record of some of the gigs performed by the Prodigy is included as an appendix to this case study. . It certainly isn't complete as on average the band played a gig every 3 days in 1994 according to one web site which means about 120 gigs whereas the list only contains 11. The first foreign trip on the list was to Rotterdam in 1992 but it was in 1994 that they did many international gigs. Their first world tour wasn't a great success as many shows were poorly promoted and the majority of American promoters failed to pay up. However in 1993 the group changed their style with the release of the white label (anonymous) track "One Love" under the pseudonym "Earthbound". This had more of a housey style with less breakbeats. This gave the impetus for a change in direction and the band's second album (see later) was widely acclaimed so that by 1995 the band played Glastonbury and consolidated their reputation as the "the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world". International gigs after this were much more successful than the initial world tour. The Prodigy had done what no other dance act had done before, they moved from the underworld of illegal rave to being recognized by a more wider variety of people in modern day society.

The gig history and success largely reflected their recording history and success. During the Christmas of 1990, Liam announced to the band members that he had been secretly releasing some of his own original beats and mixers to record labels in the UK and had been able to sign a record deal with a relatively smallish label called XL recordings and was planning to record their first hit record. However for the Dancer Sharkey it all proved too much to take and she left at Christmas. The Prodigy then recorded the all famous underground record "What evil lurks" and became a platform to build on for bigger things to come, the single is still regarded as a classic to this very date. The members of the Prodigy even though were rising up through the ranks of fame were still continuing to go out and party late at night and returning back to write tracks while still in the party vibe. The next track written was a huge success and was most definitely drug related the track is called "Charley" and rushed into the UK charts at number 3. At this time after the release of their first double album "The Prodigy experience" the Prodigy were now a renowned

dance act and continued to release singles into the charts, these include "Everybody in the place", "Out of space", "Wind it up" and "Fire".

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