The Fat of the Land

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The Fat of the Land
Studio album by The Prodigy
Released 30 June 1997 (1997-06-30)
Recorded 1995–1997
Studio Earthbound Central
Genre Big beat[1]
Length 56:24
Language English
Producer Liam Howlett
The Prodigy chronology
Music for the Jilted Generation
The Fat of the Land
The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One
Singles from The Fat of the Land
  1. "Firestarter"
    Released: 18 March 1996 (1996-03-18)
  2. "Breathe"
    Released: 11 November 1996 (1996-11-11)
  3. "Smack My Bitch Up"
    Released: 24 November 1997 (1997-11-24)

The Fat of the Land is the third studio album by English electronic dance music group The Prodigy. The album was released by XL Recordings on 30 June 1997 and on 1 July 1997 in the United States by Maverick Records. The album title comes from the old English phrase 'living off the fat of the land', which means living well or being wealthy.[2] The band name was shortened to simply "Prodigy" for the release and its singles. While Liam Howlett is generally responsible for the compositions and Maxim Reality is featured on two tracks, this is the first record to include contributions by Keith Flint, who provides vocals on four of the songs.

The album has received critical acclaim and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide as of 2012.[3][4]


The main vocal sample from "Smack My Bitch Up" is taken from "Give the Drummer Some" by American hip hop group Ultramagnetic MCs. Thus, The Prodigy invited group member Kool Keith, who raps the portion sampled by the Prodigy in the original track, to do the lyrics and vocals for another track, "Diesel Power". The track also features a looped sample of the bassline and drums from the beginning of "In Memory Of" by jazz musician Randy Weston and a sped-up riff from "Funky Man" by American funk group Kool and the Gang; both of these samples remain uncredited on the album. A heavily manipulated sample from Bulls On Parade by Rage Against the Machine is used in the breakdown.

"Breathe" samples sound effects from American hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan's music video for their single "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'".

Three credited samples are present on "Funky Shit": the main vocal sample which gives the song its title is sampled from "Root Down" by American hip hop group the Beastie Boys, the horn riff that appears throughout the song is sampled from "Theme from "S.W.A.T."" by American disco-funk group Rhythm Heritage, and the "Break!" vocal is sampled from "2, 3, Break" by American hip hop duo the B–Boys.

"Serial Thrilla" features a sample of a riff from "Selling Jesus" by English rock band Skunk Anansie.

The main riff on "Mindfields" is sampled from English composer John Barry's "Hip's Trip", from the 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun.

"Climbatize" samples a horn riff from "The Horn Track" by Egyptian Empire, the stage name of electronic musician Tim Taylor. The main drum loop was sampled from "Air Drums from Outer Bongolia" by English electronic duo The Jedi Knights; Liam Howlett sampled the drums without the group's permission, and The Jedi Knights threatened to sue The Prodigy. However, Howlett already knew that The Jedi Knights themselves had sampled the drums from an older track entitled "Bongolia" by American funk group Incredible Bongo Band without permission; XL Recordings, the Prodigy's record label, bought the rights to the Incredible Bongo Band track and threatened to sue The Jedi Knights. The media coverage cornered around the event attracted film producer George Lucas, who sued The Jedi Knights for taking their stage name from the Star Wars term "Jedi Knight", which Lucas created.[5]

"Firestarter" samples a guitar riff from "SOS" by American rock group The Breeders, and the "Hey!" vocal from "Close (To the Edit)" by Art of Noise (the vocal was also previously used by the band in "Full Throttle" on Music for the Jilted Generation). The drums on the song are sampled from a track on the Zero-G sample CD Jungle Warfare, Vol. 1; another Zero-G sample CD was sampled on The Prodigy's previous single, "One Love".

"Fuel My Fire" features guitar sounds and feedback effects by Gizz Butt taken from an unreleased remix by Kris Needs of an earlier version of the same song recorded shortly after the Autumn UK tour of 1996.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Christgau's Consumer Guide (1-star Honorable Mention)[7]
Entertainment Weekly B[8]
Los Angeles Times 4/4 stars[9]
NME 8/10[10]
Pitchfork Media 7.9/10[11]
Q 5/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[13]
Spin 7/10[14]
Sputnikmusic 5.0/5[15]

The Fat of the Land has received critical acclaim. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart.[16] The album has since gone double platinum, selling over 2 million copies in the US[17] In 1999, the album entered the Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling UK album and was also nominated for a Grammy Award.[18]

It has been featured in a number of music publication lists:

  • In 1998, Q magazine readers voted The Fat of the Land the ninth greatest album of all time.
  • In 2000 Q placed it at number 47 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[citation needed] It has also been ranked number 43 in Q's "Best 50 Albums of Q's Lifetime" list,[19] and was included in their "90 Best Albums of the 1990s"[20] and "50 Best Albums of 1997" lists.[21]
  • Rolling Stone included in their "Essential Recordings of the 90s" list.[22]
  • Spin ranked it number 20 on their list of the "Top 20 Albums of the Year [1997]" list.[23]
  • Melody Maker ranked it number 13 on their list of "Albums of the Year" for 1997[24] and number 29 in their 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.[25]
  • NME ranked it number 17 in their 1997 Critics' Poll.[26]

The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was also nominated for the 1997 Mercury Music Prize.[citation needed]

In 2004, KISS co-founder Gene Simmons covered "Firestarter" on his second solo album, Asshole. "Firestarter" was also covered by Sepultura on their album Kairos, and by Jimmy Eat World on their Firestarter (EP).

The album also caused some controversy. The National Organization for Women objected to the seeming misogyny of "Smack My Bitch Up", though the band maintains that its true interpretation is "doing anything intensely".[27]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Smack My Bitch Up"   Liam Howlett, Cedric Miller, Trevor Randolph, Maurice Smith, Keith Thornton 5:42
2. "Breathe"   Howlett, Keith Flint, Keith Palmer 5:35
3. "Diesel Power" (featuring Kool Keith) Howlett, Thornton 4:17
4. "Funky Shit"   Howlett, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch 5:16
5. "Serial Thrilla"   Howlett, Flint, Leonard Arran, Deborah Dyer 5:11
6. "Mindfields"   Howlett 5:40
7. "Narayan" (featuring Crispian Mills) Howlett, Crispian Mills 9:05
8. "Firestarter"   Howlett, Flint, Kim Deal, Anne Dudley, Trevor Horn, Gary Langan, Jonathan Jeczalik, Paul Morley 4:40
9. "Climbatize"   Howlett, Timothy Taylor 6:38
10. "Fuel My Fire" (featuring Saffron) Donita Sparks, Peter Jones, Ross Knight, Bill Walsh 4:19


The Prodigy
Additional musicians
Other personnel
  • Neil McLellanengineer
  • Christian Ammann – photography
  • JAKe – illustrations
  • Alex Jenkins – art direction, design, photography
  • Pat Pope – photography
  • Alex Scaglia – photography
  • Lou Smith – photography
  • Terry Whittaker – photography
  • Konrad Wothe – photography
  • Mike Champion – management

Charts and certifications[edit]


Chart (1997) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[29] 1
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 1[30]
Canadian Albums Chart 1[16]
Finnish Charts 1[31]
Swedish Albums top 60 1[30]
US Billboard 200 1[16]


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[32] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[33] Gold 25,000x
Canada (Music Canada)[34] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[35] Platinum 42,426[35]
France (SNEP)[36] 2× Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[37] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[38] Gold 50,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[39] Gold 25,000x
Sweden (GLF)[40] Platinum 80,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[41] 4× Platinum 1,392,273[42]
United States (RIAA)[43] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
Europe (IFPI)[44] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Year Song Chart Peak
1996 "Firestarter" UK Singles Chart 1[45]
1996 "Breathe" UK Singles Chart 1[45]
1996 "Firestarter" Australian ARIA Singles Chart 22[46]
1996 "Breathe" Australian ARIA Singles Chart 2[46]
1997 "Smack My Bitch Up" UK Singles Chart 8[45]
1997 "Smack My Bitch Up" Australian ARIA Singles Chart 41[46]
1997 "Smack My Bitch Up" Canadian Singles Chart 12[47]
1997 "Firestarter" US Billboard Hot 100 30[47]
1997 "Firestarter" US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 11[47]
1997 "Firestarter" US Modern Rock Tracks 24[47]
1997 "Breathe" US Modern Rock Tracks 18[47]
1997 "Breathe" Canadian Singles Chart 65[48]
1997 "Smack My Bitch Up" US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 19[47]
1998 "Smack My Bitch Up" US Billboard Hot 100 89[47]

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • "Mindfields" is the seventh track on the soundtrack of the film The Matrix. In the movie itself, it appears in the club scene where Neo meets Trinity.
  • "Smack My Bitch Up" has appeared in films Charlie's Angels, Scary Movie 2 and Closer.
  • Crispian Mills, who contributed lyrically to the track "Narayan", later adapted "Narayan" and elements of "Climbatize" for his own band's 2007 album, Strangefolk as "Song of Love/Narayana".
  • "Climbatize" appeared in the pilot of the TV show "Harsh Realm".
  • "Funky Shit" was used during the ending credits of the film "Event Horizon (film)".
  • Both "Firestarter" and "Breathe" have appeared in the film "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."
  • An instrumental version of "Firestarter" appears in video game "Wipeout 2097"
  • A vocal version of the Japanese bonus track "No man army" called "One man army" is featured in the movie "Spawn" and its soundtrack respectively.


  1. ^ "Big Beat | Significant Albums, Artists and Songs | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Living off the fat of the land". Retrieved 11 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "The Prodigy to release 15th anniversary edition of 'The Fat of the Land' | News". Nme.Com. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Prodigy's "The Fat Of The Land" To Get 15th Anniversary Rerelease -". 
  5. ^ Kieran Grant. "Decline of the Jedi Knights". Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Fat of the Land – The Prodigy". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: The Prodigy". Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Browne, David (11 July 1997). "The Fat of the Land". Entertainment Weekly (387). Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Hilburn, Robert (29 June 1997). "Prodigy Burns Down Barriers Dividing Rock, Hip-Hop, Dance". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Moody, Paul (28 June 1997). "The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land". NME. Archived from the original on 5 October 2000. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Lewis, Jim (31 December 1999). "Fat of the Land". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Prodigy: The Fat of the Land". Q (129). June 1997. 
  13. ^ "The Prodigy: The Fat of the Land". Rolling Stone (766): 82. 13 May 1999. 
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric (September 1997). "Prodigy: The Fat of the Land". Spin 13 (6): 155. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Deviant (30 June 1997). "Review: The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land (staff review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c "The Prodigy". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - May 18, 2015". 
  18. ^ "Shahin Badar". Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  19. ^ Q (October 2001): 46.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  20. ^ Q (December 1999): 92.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  21. ^ Q (January 1998): 114.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  22. ^ Rolling Stone: 82. 13 May 1999.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  23. ^ Spin (January 1998): 87.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  24. ^ Melody Maker (20 December 1997): 66–67.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  25. ^ Village Voice. 24 February 1998.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  26. ^ NME (20 December 1997): 78–79.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  27. ^ "Prodigy". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  28. ^ only CD released from Sony Music Entertainment Japan
  29. ^ July 1997 "12 July 1997 Top 40 UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company.
  30. ^ a b The Fat of the Land – Charting
  31. ^ Finland's Official List –[dead link][dead link]
  32. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  33. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Prodigy – The Fat of the Land" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Prodigy in the field Interpret. Enter The Fat of the Land in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Prodigy – The Fat of the Land". Music Canada. 
  35. ^ a b "Prodigy" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. 
  36. ^ "French album certifications – Prodigy – The Fat of the Land" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  37. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Prodigy; 'The Fat of the Land')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  38. ^ "Rock: Già disco d'oro l'album dei Prodigy" (in Italian). Adnkronos. 8 July 1997. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  39. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Prodigy; 'The Fat of the Land')". Hung Medien. 
  40. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  41. ^ "British album certifications – Prodigy – The Fat of the Land". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Fat of the Land in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  42. ^ "Official Charts Analysis: Prodigy tops Easter Album Chart with 45,302 sales". Music Week. 
  43. ^ "American album certifications – Prodigy – The Fat of the Land". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  44. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1997". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 
  45. ^ a b c " - UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts". 
  46. ^ a b c "The Prodigy". Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  47. ^ a b c d e f g "The Prodigy". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  48. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 
Preceded by
Spice by Spice Girls
Billboard 200 number-one album
19–26 July 1997
Succeeded by
Men in Black: The Album by various artists
Preceded by
OK Computer by Radiohead
UK number one album
12 July – 22 August 1997
Succeeded by
White on Blonde by Texas
Preceded by
Album of the Year by Faith No More
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
13–19 July 1997
Succeeded by
Middle of Nowhere by Hanson