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The Prodigy – ‘Breathe’ (1996) | Record of the Day

The Prodigy Breathe sleeve

Breathe was the second, storming single from The Prodigy’s massive 1997 album, The Fat of the Land. Often overlooked in favour of the deranged pyromania of its predecessor, Firestarter, for me, this piece of punk-infused rave was always the better song. It features samples from Thin Lizzy, The Meters and Wu Tang Clan, some intense guitar work from Pitchshifter guitarist Jim Davies and, of course, a trademark Keith Flint vocal:

Breathe the pressure
Come play my game, I’ll test ya
Psychosomatic, addict, insane

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Keith was modest about his role within The Prodigy:

“I was never the brains behind the band – that was always Liam. But together we were a complete package. It was the outlet I was looking for.”

He wasn’t the brains, but he was the catalyst for The Prodigy’s biggest successes, and even its existence.

After he heard fledgling DJ Liam Howlett’s set at a rave in 1989 he approached him and asked him for a mix tape. Keith was so impressed with what Liam came back with he persuaded him to start the band, with himself as dancer.

The Prodigy’s first two albums – Experience (1992) and Music for the Jilted Generation (1994) – are both big beat/rave classics, but it was when Keith stepped forward as vocalist for The Fat of the Land that The Prodigy exploded. The punk aggression and mischievousness that had set them apart from other rave acts on their earlier recordings now came to the fore, with Keith as its personification.

With this loose-limbed, snarling maniac as the perfect focal point for The Prodigy’s visceral, high-octane sound, the band reached dizzying new levels of success without compromising their outsider appeal in any way. Breathe is The Prodigy at their peak.


Keith Flint

This week has seen the sad announcement of Keith Flint’s death at the age of 49. It seems that despite being fit, artistically active and having come through addiction, tragically he took his own life. He’s an iconic figure and he won’t be forgotten, but he shouldn’t have left us this way.

https://www.samaritans.org/

http://www.samaritansusa.org/

 

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Nick Perry

Nick writes fact, fiction and opinion in various places including
his music blog noisecrumbs.com. His musical tastes cover indie, grunge, golden-era hip hop, punk, funk, psychedelia and a big portion of distortion. You can and should follow him on Twitter @NoiseCrumbs.

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