Charly (song)

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Not to be confused with Charlie (song).
The Prodigy - Charly.jpg
Single by The Prodigy
from the album Experience
B-side "Pandemonium"
"Your Love"
"Energy Flow (G-Force Part 1)"
Released 12 August 1991 (1991-08-12)[1]
Format Vinyl (7 inch), vinyl (12 inch), cassette tape, CD single, digipak, digital download, maxi-single
Recorded 1991; C.W.S. Studios (Essex, England)
Genre Rave, Oldschool jungle
Length 3:56 (Original Version)
5:27 (Alley Cat Mix)
3:38 (Alley Cat 7" Edit / video version)
5:13 (Trip Into Drum & Bass Version / album version)
Label XL Recordings, Elektra
Writer(s) Liam Howlett
Producer(s) Liam Howlett, Chaz Stevens
The Prodigy singles chronology
"Everybody in the Place"
Alternative Cover
Digital Cover
Music video
"Charly" on YouTube

"Charly" is the debut single released by the British electronic act the Prodigy, taken from their debut album Experience. The version featured on the album is the significantly longer "Trip Into Drum & Bass" remix.

It was released in the UK on 12 August 1991 through XL Recordings on vinyl, CD and cassette tape format .[1] Almost a year later, it was released as a double A-side single with "Everybody in the Place" in the United States on 18 June 1992 through Elektra Records on CD, digipak and maxi-single format.[2]

On 22 November 2004 the single was released on digital download format.[3] On 1 October 1992, "Charly" had sold over 200,000 copies in the UK which in turn enabled it a Silver BPI certification.[4] The Alley Cat Mix of "Charly" features as track number three on the expanded disc two of the band's debut album Experience. "Charly" appears on the band's compilation album Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005 as track number nine.


"Charly" was written and produced by band frontman Liam Howlett, together with Chaz Stevens as an additional producer. The single's cover art was designed by Jay McKendry Jenkins. The song samples a 1970s BBC Public Information Film, Charley Says, (from "Double Deckers" of ITV's "Say No To Strangers" campaign), in which a small child is shown with his cat. This sample later resulted in the band being unsuccessfully sued for plagiarism. The beat of the track is sampled from "Radio Babylon" by electronic music act Meat Beat Manifesto.[5]

The band was criticized by the dance music magazine Mixmag for inspiring a glut of copycat rave songs which also sampled children's programming, including "Sesame's Treet" by Smart E's and "A Trip To Trumpton" by Urban Hype.[citation needed]


The song received generally mixed reviews from critics, despite its popularity. described "Charly" as "An infamous song which was played at very loud volumes for weeks and its music video turned it into one of the controversial songs of its time."[6] elaborated "Charly" as an electronic track developed in such a way that it would ensure boredom avoidance.[7] interpreted the song as "All teenage rampage and suckingly vacant insurgency".[8]

Music video[edit]

A music video directed by Russell Curtis features live footage of one of the costume-wearing Prodigy's early performances with other visual effects. The video contrasts the song's lyrics and "infamous" sample by playing a clip of a government warning to always tell your parents where you were going. The cartoon figure used was a young child, named Tony, who had a ginger cat named Charley and "Charley Says" was a short series of informational cartoons produced for children during the 1970s dealing with everyday issues such as not playing with matches and not talking to strangers.

Track listing[edit]

US 12 Inch Vinyl Promo[edit]

  1. "Charly" (Beltram Says Mix) - 5:27
  2. "Charly" (Alley Cat Mix) - 5:27
  3. "Everybody in the Place" (Moby Dance Hall Version) - 5:33
  4. "Everybody in the Place" (Fairground Mix) - 5:08

US CD Promo[edit]

  1. "Charly" (Beltram Says Mix) - 5:27
  2. "Charly" (Alley Cat Mix) - 5:27
  3. "Everybody in the Place" (Moby Dance Hall Version) - 5:33
  4. "Everybody in the Place" (Fairground Mix) - 5:08
  5. "Your Love" (The Original Excursion) - 6:00
  6. "Energy Flow (G-Force Part 1)" - 5:18

UK 7 Inch Vinyl Promo[edit]

  1. "Charly" (Alley Cat Mix 7" Edit) - 3:38
  2. "Charly" (Original Mix) - 3:56

UK 12 Inch Vinyl, Digital Download & CD Promo[3][9][edit]

  1. "Charly" (Original Mix) - 3:56
  2. "Pandemonium" - 4:25
  3. "Your Love" - 6:00
  4. "Charly" (Alley Cat Mix) - 5:27


  • "Charly" (1991 Demo Remix) - 4:07 (Early version of the single, officially unreleased yet)
  • "Charly" (Alley Cat Remix) - 5:27 (Charly single)
  • "Charly" (Alley Cat 7" Edit) - 3:38 (Charly single, 7-inch vinyl release)
  • "Charly" (Beltram Says Remix) - 3:29 (Charly single)
  • "Charly" (Trip Into Drum & Bass Remix) - 5:13 (Experience LP)
  • "Charly" (JOC Remix) (from "Joint Operation Centre" i. e. John O'Callaghan)

Some unofficial and fan remixes:

  • "Charly" (Bit Me Remix) - 3:40[citation needed]
  • "Charly" (Dave Skywalker Remix) - 5:12
  • "Charly" (Peo De Pitte Remix) - 7:16
  • "Charly" (Red Head Remix) - 5:09
  • "Charly" (Trip Into Drum & Bass Paza Chip Remix) - 3:31
  • "Charly" (Zinc Remix) - 4:54

Chart performance[edit]

On 24 August 1991, "Charly" debuted at number nine on the UK Singles Chart, two weeks later it rose to a peak position of number three where it stayed for two consecutive weeks. The single re-entered the chart almost five years after release at number sixty-six on 20 April 1996. The single re-entered again, a further eight years on from its previous re-entry due to a digital download release of the single. This time at number 73 on 4 December 2004. Altogether it spent a total of six weeks within the top ten and twelve weeks within the top seventy-five.

Chart (1991) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[10] 161
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 3

External links[edit]