"Breathe" was released in November 1996 as the second single from the album The Fat of the Land. The song became the group's second consecutive number-one on both the UK and Finnish singles charts. An edited version of the song is featured as the opening track on MuchMusic's Diamond-Certified compilation album, Big Shiny Tunes 2. The song also featured in a 2012 television commercial for Tooheys Extra Dry.
The Prodigy performed "Breathe" at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, and won the Viewer's Choice Award. The song was a major worldwide hit, reaching the top 10 in several countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Breathe was a number-one hit in Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The song was also a hit in France, reaching #26. In the United States, the song reached number 18 on the US Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Breathe is to date The Prodigy's biggest selling single ever.
Before 'Breathe' was released Midi Management reported the tracklisting to be the following:
2. Poison (Live)
3. Their Law (Live)
4. Blow Your Mind
Blow Your Mind was probably a studio version of Diesel Power without Kool Keith on vocals but likely with Maxim instead as heard on several gigs before the release of FOTL.
We recorded that straight after "Firestarter. " And it was an instrumental for ages. We were playing it on stage and the guys were just dancing to it and stuff. It was just like an instrumental track. And I thought that it was so obvious to put a vocal on it and I think what happened is they came around and they knew the track anyway. They'd been listening to it for about three months. To tell you the truth, I think I wrote "Breathe" before I did "Firestarter. " I wrote the instrumental of "Breathe" about two months before "Firestarter. " And then about three or four months later I came around and literally set up a mic in the studio. I went into the lounge for about half an hour, watched telly, come back and they'd done the vocals. It was quite a quick sort of thing really. It was just a matter of sorting a couple of syllables out, getting them to fit in right with the beats and then it was just plain sailing, it was done.
Literally for that track it was just like going in and experimenting with a couple of sounds. The first opening line is like a really twangy old guitar sound, really monotone sort of guitar sound. I made that and that was made about six months before we actually recorded the vocals. And it was just literally that, with a beat on it. And all I did was throw some loops down on a DAT. I basically just did that guitar part. [sings] That riff and just threw a beat on there. And just put it down as a loop onto DAT.
When we did the song, it was about confrontation between [singer/dancer] Maxim and Keith. There was no deep meaning. It was like, you want to taste me, come over here and taste me. And then Maxim was like, breathe me, breathe me... It was just more of a confrontational thing between them two. When they do it on stage, that comes across really obviously. I'm not gonna sit here and try and think of some deep meaning because it just hasn't got one. "Firestarter" has but "Breathe" hasn't. It's basically like a full-on, almost punk dance track. It's kind of got the energy of our other tracks but it's also got the edge of "Firestarter" in a way. When you see it live, it's really confrontational between them two. We just wanted to get that on record and it just captured that live part of the show, you know?