What Evil Lurks
The fastest selling dance album in the UK, which sold a record 317,000 copies in its first week. In the USA it sold more than 200,000 in its first week. The album entered the chart at No. 1 in a total of 20 countries, including the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Austria and Norway.
UK chart position: 1
In the US Wal-Mart refused to sell FOTL because of the track names. So Prodigy's US record company Maverick agreed to censor them on the sleeve. Liam was very pissed about that ofcourse.
The Fat of the Land is the third studio album by the Prodigy, released on 30 June 1997 through XL Recordings. The album received critical acclaim and topped the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. It managed to reach number 1 in 22 countries in the first week including the UK where it is one fastest selling records ever. It was also nominated for a 1998 Grammy for Best Rock Album. It has sold over 10 million copies worldwide as of 2019.
While Liam Howlett is generally responsible for the compositions and Maxim is featured on two tracks, this is the first record to include contributions by Keith Flint, who provides vocals on four of the songs and co-wrote three songs, including the two biggest hits, both of which reached No. 1 on the UK singles chart. He is also the vocalist on a cover of the L7 song "Fuel My Fire" (from the 1994 album Hungry for Stink). The Fat of the Land album cover featured an image of a Blackback crab and a new logo, dropping "The" and adding an ant silhouette. The album title comes from the old English phrase 'living off the fat of the land', which means living well or being wealthy.
Among the most anticipated releases of 1997, The Prodigy's third full-length album is a bulldozing rock-techno hybrid. But while the guitar/samples/hyper-beats mosaic that made "Firestarter" an MTV breakout are found in every nook and cranny of this album, the overall building blocks are far more diverse, making it a tangible melting pot of pre-millennium pop styles.
There's a definite hip-hop element here. "Diesel Power," which features quality mic control by Kool Keith (of Ultramagnetic MCs and Dr. Octagon fame), is new-style hip-hop sculpture, applying techno and acid-house textures to apocalyptic ends. Both "Funky Shit" and "Smack My Bitch Up" are throbbing dance-floor ejaculations wrapped around, respectively, Beastie Boys and De La Soul refrains. Kula Shaker's Crispin Mills adds vocals to an Eastern-influenced trance workout called "Narayan. " All this adds up to proof positive that THE FAT OF THE LAND is just the tip of the iceberg
The initial shock was a real surprise, you know. Definitely surprised. We were really happy because it just confirmed what we always thought. We knew it would work in the U.S. It worked everywhere else. There's no reason why it shouldn't. So we were just really happy. We were shocked, to be honest. We knew it was gonna go in to the top 10 and possibly in the top 5, judging on the amount of sales we did in that week and stuff. But, I mean, to go into #1, maybe people will take us seriously.
It was about one in the morning. Richard [Russell] from XL [XL-Recordings, the English label the group is signed to] phoned me up and he told me. I think I spent like about an hour phoning people around, just saying "Yeah, what'd you think about that?"
We want to distance ourselves from it, to be honest. We're wise to hype. We've been doing this for seven years now. We know if something's hyped up too much and it hasn't got any substance then it falls flat on its face. To be honest, after being at #1, I think this helps a lot. A lot of people will take us seriously now. It's almost like we had to have that to let people realize that we're not about hype.
The Chemical Brothers did pretty well to get to #14 in the American charts. But at the end of the day when you actually look at the quantity of records sold, it isn't a great deal, to be honest. It's like 200,000 the first week. We sold twice as many in England in the first week. It's like not that many records, to be honest.
We were really pleased to be at #1. We were surprised. Everyone in England gets the impression that in the American market you need a million records to be at #1. The market isn't like what it used to be; it isn't the same. Two hundred thousand records [in one week] is not that many. You don't expect it to be #1. Number one in itself helps us, you know.
- Liam Howlett
Ever wondered why 'The Fat Of The Land' was delayed? Liam admitted in a recent interview that the main cause of the late arrival of Fat Of The Land was due to the game 'Tomb Raider'.
The fastest selling dance album in the UK is The Fat of the Land (1997) by Prodigy, which sold a record 317,000 copies in its first week. In the USA it sold more than 200,000 in its first week. The album entered the chart at No. 1 in a total of 20 countries, including the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Austria and Norway. Source: 'The Guinness 1999 Book of World Records'
For introducing Kool Keith to Liam.
Originally, the cover was going to be a doner kebab being roasted on a stick and branded
name of the album. XL designer Alex Jenkins shot the image, then Howlett changed his
last moment, forcing Jenkins to source the dancing crab photo, which he faxed to Howlett
approve. The claw was increased in size, making it look like the crab is sticking two
to the world.
Included in Rolling Stone's Essential Recordings
of the 90's.
Rolling Stone (05/13/1999)
Included in Q Magazine's 50 Best Albums of 1997.
Ranked #20 on Spin's list of the Top 20 Albums Of
Ranked #29 in the Village Voice's 1997 Pazz & Jop
Village Voice (02/24/1998)
3.5 Stars (out of 5) - ...packs all the visceral punch of rock at its incendiary
electro punk that serves as a perfect Brit counterpart to the industrial noir of Trent
the jittery soundscapes of Wu-Tang Clan's RZA...
Rolling Stone Magazine (08/07/1997)
7 (out of 10) - ...maybe the best fusion of pseudo-rap and pseudo-punk since Rage Against
...the first block rockin' post-Oasis amyl-techno-punk
album....as well as reaffirming their position as head-warping slam-kings of the pop
underground, [FAT OF THE LAND] seems set to be the ultimate party soundtrack
both sides of the ocean...
New Musical Express (06/28/1997)
...Prodigy leader and beat master Liam Howlett has made THE FAT OF THE LAND harder, more
subterranean, more diverse, and more vocal-oriented than previous Prodigy
dance music not
about release but aggression, making it ideal party music for the end of the century...
Entertainment Weekly (07/11/1997)
What Evil Lurks
Everybody In The Place
Out of Space
WInd It Up
No Good (Start The Dance)
Music For The Jilted Generation
Smack My Bitch Up
Prodigy Present: The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One
The Prodigy Experience - Expanded: Remixes & B-sides
Baby's Got A Temper
Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned
Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005
Voodoo People / Out Of Space
Back To Mine
More Music For The Jilted Generation
Invaders Must Die
Take Me To The Hospital
Invaders Must Die EP
The Added Fat EP
The Day Is My Enemy
The Night Is My Friend EP
The Day Is My Enemy (Expanded Edition)
Light Up The Sky