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 was released on June 30th 1997 and 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. 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.
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 with the name of the album. XL designer Alex Jenkins shot the image, then Howlett changed his mind at the last moment, forcing Jenkins to source the dancing crab photo, which he faxed to Howlett to approve. The claw was increased in size, making it look like the crab is sticking two fingers up to the world.
The Mix Mag 1st
July 1997 (In Fat Of The Land -
Mixmag Album of The Month)
Toronto Sun High-voltage Prodigy (Fat of the Land reviewed by Jane Stevensson)
Fascist Firestarters?: Prodigy's rock & roll revolution (Fat of the Land reviewed by Jim DeRogatis)
Jam! Showbiz (Fat of the Land reviewed by John Sakamoto)
Rolling Stone (Fat of the Land review)
Keskisuomalainen: Megaa & anarkiaa kirj. TIMO LIEVEMAA (Prodigy: The fat of the land)
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 best....populist
electro punk that serves as a perfect Brit counterpart
to the industrial noir of Trent Reznor or 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 Machine...
...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 records....This is dance music not about
release but aggression, making it ideal party music
for the end of the century... - Rating: B
Entertainment Weekly (07/11/1997)