"Charly" is the debut single released by the British electronic act the Prodigy, later included on their debut album Experience, although the version featured on the album is the significantly different "Trip into Drum & Bass" remix.

The Prodigy - Charly.jpg
Single by the Prodigy
from the album Experience
  • "Pandemonium"
  • "Your Love"
  • "Energy Flow (G-Force Part 1)"
Released12 August 1991 (1991-08-12)
FormatVinyl (7-inch and 12-inch), cassette tape, CD single, digipak, digital download, maxi-single
Recorded1991; C.W.S. Studios (Essex, England)
Length3:56 (original version)
5:27 (Alley Cat Mix)
3:38 (Alley Cat 7" Edit / video version)
5:13 (Trip Into Drum & Bass Version / album version)
Songwriter(s)Liam Howlett
  • Liam Howlett
  • Chaz Stevens
The Prodigy singles chronology
"Everybody in the Place"
Music video
"Charly" on YouTube
Alternative cover
Digital cover
Digital cover

It was released in the UK on 12 August 1991 through XL Recordings on vinyl, CD and cassette tape format. 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.

On 22 November 2004 the single was released on digital download format.[2] On 1 October 1992, "Charly" had sold over 200,000 copies in the UK which in turn enabled it a Silver BPI certification.[3] 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 the 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.[4]

The band was criticised 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.[5] [6]


The song received generally mixed reviews from critics, despite its popularity. Dooyoo.co.uk 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."[7] Popmatters.com elaborated "Charly" as an electronic track developed in such a way that it would ensure boredom avoidance.[8] Stylusmagazine.com interpreted the song as "All teenage rampage and suckingly vacant insurgency".[9] Regardless of Charly's mixed critical reception, the track has still genuinely managed to garner a rather widespread cult following over the years for its innovative use of sound, as it has been considered by many fans to be one of the main turning points in Electronic music history, if not the overall Rave scene in general.

Music videoEdit

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; "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 listingEdit

US 12-inch vinyl promoEdit

  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 promoEdit

  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 promoEdit

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

UK 12-inch vinyl, digital download and CD promoEdit

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

Source: XL/Amazon[2][10]


  • "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" (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
  • "Charly" (Keywi Remix) - 3:06

Chart performanceEdit

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)[11] 161
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 3

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "XL Recordings: The American Chapter - Various Artists - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 September 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "The Prodigy's Charly (Alley Cat Mix) sample of Meat Beat Manifesto's Radio Babylon". WhoSampled. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Mixmag August 1992 The Prodigy did "Charly Kill Rave?"". It's All About Flyers.com. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Mixmag apologise about Charly killed rave". Nekozine. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Their Law: The Singles 1990-2005 - The Prodigy Music Album product reviews and price comparison". Dooyoo.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Music Reviews, Features, Essays, News, Columns, Blogs, MP3s and Videos - PopMatters". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 October 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Charly". 14 August 1995. Retrieved 26 August 2017 – via Amazon.
  11. ^ "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 9 November 2015". Archived from the original on 9 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015 – via Imgur.
  12. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 April 2016.