The Prodigy change lyrics to Smack My B***h Up – 26 years after song was released


Dance band The Prodigy appear to have changed the lyrics to their hit 1997 song “Smack My Bitch Up” after years of controversy.

The Essex-formed group are currently on a tour of Europe, stopping for two nights at London’s Alexandra Palace over the weekend.

Footage from their gig on Friday 24 November, shared by X/Twitter account Secret Drug Addict, shows vocalist Maxim in the opening moments of the song.

He appears to repeat the opening lyric, “Change my pitch up”, instead of the original second line: “Smack my bitch up.”

Representatives for the band declined to comment when contacted by The Independent.

The track, taken from The Prodigy’s breakthrough album The Fat of the Land, caused uproar when it was first released and was once voted the most controversial song of all time.

As well as receiving criticism from artists including Tori Amos and the Beastie Boys, it was condemned by the National Organisation for Women (NOW), who accused it of promoting violence against women as “a form of entertainment”.

In response, the album was removed from a number of stores in the US, while the BBC either banned the song outright from its stations or played a lyric-free version.

Despite the row, it achieved huge success in both the US and the UK, with Fat of the Land topping the charts in the States eight days after its release.

The band defended the track at the time, claiming it was a tribute to early hip-hop “B-boy” culture.

“At the end of the day,” late singer Keith Flint told Rolling Stone, “the girls who come to our shows are hardcore girls, and they don’t look at it as that.

“If some girl in an A-line flowery dress decides there’s some band somewhere singing about smashing bitches up, let’s get a bit militant. They don’t know us. They never know us. They never will.”

Keith Flint y Liam Howlett de Prodigy actuando en 1997 (Andre Csillag/Shutterstock)
Keith Flint y Liam Howlett de Prodigy actuando en 1997 (Andre Csillag/Shutterstock)

“It’s so offensive,” co-founder and band leader Liam Howlett said in the same interview “that it can’t actually mean that. That’s where the irony is.”

Neither Flint nor Howlett expressed any regrets about the song. However, their label representative at XL, Richard Russell, admitted that he had second thoughts about the track, and addressed the controversy in his 2020 memoir, Liberation Through Hearing.

“Is it art? Yes, just about, and a great deal of art is not pleasant,” he wrote. “Was any woman ever abused because of The Prodigy? My instinct is no. But how can I be sure? So, do I regret releasing a single on XL with the title ‘Smack My Bitch Up’? No. But I doubt that I would do it again.”

Flint died aged 49 in 2019.

His bandmates announced their first tour since his death last year, revealing a string of summer shows as well as sharing a tribute to the “Firestarter” singer.

“Your Fire will never go out. Stay punk brother,” the band said.

Their next show is scheduled for tonight (Monday 27 November) at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, Netherlands.