Facts about The Prodigy's Firestarter and its iconic video starring Keith Flint
17 September 2019, 17:31 | Updated: 17 September 2019, 17:55
We mark what would have been the late Keith Flint's 50th birthday by taking a look at The Prodigy frontman's most iconic moment.
Today marks what would have been Keith Flint's 50th Birthday.
The late Prodigy frontman tragically passed away earlier this year on 4 March 2019, and was laid to rest in the same month - with crowds lining the streets for his funeral procession through Braintree.
Keith Flint's impact has spanned genres and decades, with people from all over the music world being inspired by his music and stage presence.
And nothing encapsulates Flint's memory more than the visuals for Firestarter - the first single from the band's third studio album The Fat of The Land.
But do you think you know everything about their first ever UK number one and the video for the band's 1997 single?
Get our facts about the iconic track here...
Firestarter was meant to be an instrumental song
"I recorded it as an instrumental," Liam Howlett told NME back in March 1996.
“And as usual, all three of the others come round to have a listen. Keith happened to be the first, and I said to him, ‘We need one more element’. Now I’d have been happy with a good sample, but Keith says, I’d really like to try some vocals on that’. And I’m like, ‘Whaaaaaaat?!”
Firestarter saw Keith Flint lay down his first proper vocals for the band
Yes, that's right. Unbelievably, before Firestarter, Keef had never fronted on a Prodigy song before.
Usually a dancer, he was felt compelled to sing - or even shout - along to this tune.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The track samples The Breeders S.O.S.
Kim Deal is one of the artists who appears on the songwriting credits, with the looped wah-wah riff taken from their 1993 track.
The famous Firestarter video was actually the band's second attempt
Before the famous visuals we all know and love, The Prodigy had spent £100 grand on a video we'll probably never see.
However, Liam, Keith and co weren't happy with the finished result, and ended up binning it at the last minute with very little time and money to spare.
Speaking to the BBC, Howlett revealed "In the original, Keef was in a straight jacket and had this ball bouncing – it was just nonsense. It cost like £100,000 but I just put it in the bin."
The video was filmed in an abandoned London tube tunnel
It's no secret that the Firestarter video was shot in an old disused London Underground tunnel in Aldwych.
Howlett recalled it being so dusty, the band were "whingeing [they were] gonna get asbestos poisoning".
The Prodigy shot the video in black and white because they had no money left
After losing an obscene amount of money on their now discarded first attempt, Howlett put in calls to get Walter Stern on board as the director, and chose to shoot the film without colour to cut down on costs.
He added to the BBC: "Videos cost a lot more money in those days and I think we only had £20,000 left, so I asked Walter if he could help us out.
"The reason why the video was black and white was because we couldn’t pay for colour".
The stars and stripes jumper Keith Flint wears was bought for £5 on the way to the shoot
Speaking to Triple J as part of their Inspired podcast, Flint revealed: “I was on my way to the video and went to Camden Market to find something to wear.
"I went to this second-hand store, saw the stars and stripes, and I liked the contradiction of us being this British band and wearing the stars and stripes jumper.
"It was five quid. I bunged it on, and it had its own impact. I really mildly thought about it, just threw it together, very DIY, and sometimes that natural, honest approach to just doing what you do always pays off. Nothing's trying too hard."
Keith Flint threw up on set after filming ended
Though Howlett, Maxim and (now former member) Leeroy Thornhill - and the crew were in the bowels of the London Underground tunnel for half the day, it was Keith who had to put in the performance of a lifetime for the 12 hours or more it took to shoot the video.
As documented by NME's Johnny Cigarettes in 1996 while on set, those not in front of the camera were given "barely adequate paper masks," while Flint mostly went without.
It's no surprise that it's reported that Flint threw up on set, after declaring: "Wow! Fackin’ weird buzz man!"