Rest in peace, Keith Flint

Keith Flint

Dear God. Please don’t let 2019 turn into another year like 2016, when celebrities dropped like flies and every time you saw a name trending on Twitter you started fearing the worse.

News has broken in the last hour that The Prodigy’s Keith Flint died this morning at his home in Essex. He was just 49. According to the Prodigy’s Liam Howlett, he had taken his own life.

It would be dishonest to claim that I was a Prodigy fan from the off, because I wasn’t and for much of the first half of the 1990s, I didn’t get much dance music. This was far more to do with me being a moody teenager, seeing boundaries that weren’t there, and nothing to do with the music itself (though the fact that I can’t dance for toffee may be something to do with it). I didn’t care much for these tracks at the time – I now recognise them as representative of much of the great dance music coming out of Britain then.


But The Prodigy – along with many other acts, such as The Orb, Underworld, Orbital, Leftfield and The Chemical Brothers changed my approach, along with the more down-tempo sounds of the likes of Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead.  When I heard the news, there were so many songs I wanted to hear. Sure, they may have been the hits – but what hits they were.

The year after I left school, they topped the charts with ‘Firestarter,’ a song that blistered visually as much as sonically, with a video that was supposedly too scary to be shown on TV (the following year’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ would put it into some kind of perspective, along with Aphex Twin’s ‘Come To Daddy’ video).

This was followed by the even-more exciting ‘Breathe’ which mixed Joy Division bass-lines, punk energy, seemingly several different styles of dance music (I was learning by now) and Keith Flint and Maxim leading this brilliant monster out of our stereos. Perhaps like Massive Attack, they were a British band who managed to combine so many different styles to produce something that was reflective of where Britain’s many tribes were coming from and how they had come together.

Frustratingly, the only time I saw them live was at Glastonbury in 1997. Keith was on fine form, even if the electrics gave out after the second song, and Dennis Pennis had to keep things going by singing to the crowd in Hebrew (no, really). I headed off to China a couple of days later, but not before I picked up a copy of Fat Of the Land, their third album, released the Monday after Glastonbury. Perhaps I drifted apart from The Prodigy after this period – I didn’t much care for the ‘Baby’s Got A Temper’ single in 2002 or the Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned album from 2004 (which didn’t feature Keith), but my interest was reignited with 2009’s Invaders Must Die album and listening to two of the singles from this album again, they deserve to be shared. What also struck me as interesting – I was teaching by this time – was how many of the kids I taught loved The Prodigy, too.

I never met Keith Flint, but according to those he was a lovely guy, and always very appreciative of the crew who worked with The Prodigy. His death, seemingly from suicide, is heartbreakingly sad, but he leaves behind some utterly awesome music.

Album Review – The Prodigy


The Prodigy -‘Invaders Must Die.’ (Cooking Vinyl)

I’ve had a slightly difficult relationship with The Prodigy. Much of this is to do with my King Canute/Ostrich phase during the first half of the nineties where I was convinced that dance music was inferior to rock and indie. My loss. Gradually over time I fell for them, seduced by nights post school when ‘No Good’ kicked in and by the singles of ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Breathe’ (the latter which had a rock bassline! Like Joy Division!!) so that by the time of the release of third album The Fat Of The Land I had fallen hook line and sinker for them. Then over the next few years I was left disappointed by both the ‘Baby’s Got A Temper’ single and the eventual follow up to Fat, Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned.

But just before Christmas, a free mp3 of ‘Invaders Must Die’ started circulating and I procked my ears up once more. It’s presented in a longer form here, but the Prodigy are back on form and how. They’ve regained their energy, updated their technology (I imagine) and lost none of their spirit and inventiveness that showed how they bridged the true spirit of both rave and punk.

Given that it’s now eighteen years since they debuted with the ‘What Evil Lurks’ they now seem to be back at the forefront of a reinvigorated dance scene. Students I teach have been, er, raving about them, and the sense is that they really are on top form here. From the moment the title track kicks in, this is an album for dancing to, for feeling uplifted and being reminded that like contemporaries the Chemical Brothers, they may have their roots in early nineties dance but they belong just as much in the present rather than simply being a throwback to the early nineties rave scene. Both ‘Warror’s Dance’ and ‘Omen’ have been big hits already, but like the aforementioned Chemicals, the Produgy were always good at putting toegether a proper album. The title track and ‘Thunder’ are two other standout tracks on what is an excellent album.

Good to have them back!


The Prodigy -‘Omen.’ mp3

(please note: Dear any DMCA creeps or Web Police/sherriff; the above mp3 is linked to from a legally recognised free site).

The Prodigy website/The Prodigy myspace

Prodigy – ‘Omen.’

Prodigy -‘Warrior’s Dance.’

New Prodigy Track

One of the biggest let-downs of the decade has got to be The Prodigy’s Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned LP. But on the strength of this free track they’ve released, hopefully they’re back firing on all cylinders.

I’m not going to say that this is the best thing they’ve ever done – but it’s pretty much the best thing I’ve heard them do in over a decade. This is the title track from their new album, the tracklisting and more info can be found here.

The Prodigy -‘Invaders Must Die.’ mp3

Comments welcome please…