Prodigy Deny Sample For All-Star Charity Single

Band won't allow 'Firestarter' to be used for song featuring Kid Rock and members of Rolling Stones, Spice Girls.

Electronica rockers the Prodigy, whose own music liberally borrows from

other bands' songs, refused to loan a sample of one of their own to an

all-star charity record because the group thought the remake of a Rolling

Stones song "sucked," according to a Prodigy spokesperson.

The BBC-sponsored remake of the Stones' 1974 hit "It's Only Rock 'n Roll

(But I Like It)," which is scheduled to feature rapper Kid Rock, punk

icon Iggy Pop, Stones leaders Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Black Sabbath

singer Ozzy Osbourne, and soul singers Mary J. Blige and James Brown,

will not include music from the Prodigy's 1997 hit "Firestarter," because

the band last week denied clearance for the sample, the spokesperson said.

"They sampled some Prodigy music and the band didn't want it in there,"

spokesperson Chris Sharp said Monday. "I think they thought the project

sucked."

The single's executive producer said Tuesday (Nov. 23) that she preferred

not to discuss the issue because she didn't want any controversy to

overshadow the record itself.

"We approached Prodigy to be part of it, and in the end they decided not

to," Lorna Dickinson said. "It's not important."

"Prodigy didn't feel happy with 'Firestarter' (RealAudio

excerpt) being used in such a load of guff," Sharp said. "Everyone

knows that when you sample something it has to be cleared and it usually

has to do with whether the band is artistically comfortable with how it's

being used."

"It's Only Rock 'n Roll" (RealAudio

excerpt of Rolling Stones version), which will be accompanied by

a video featuring all the artists, is scheduled for release Dec. 13 in

the UK and is expected to be released at some point in the United States

as well, Dickinson said.

The single is a benefit for the Children's Promise charity (known as the

Children's Hour in the U.S.), part of a global campaign requesting that

people donate their earnings from the last hour of the millennium to

children.

Among the other artists expected on it are pop singer Lionel Richie,

pop-rockers Bon Jovi, blues guitarists B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt,

singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, Pretenders leader Chrissie Hynde,

Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox, pop singer Natalie Imbruglia, Jamiroquai

singer Jay Kay, rock group Fun Lovin' Criminals, blues singer Joe Cocker,

pop group the Corrs, comedian (and former Monty Python member) Eric Idle

and members of the Spice Girls.

"It's the most amazing list of artists — it's just a fun celebration,"

Dickinson said. "It's not to be taken seriously."

The refusal by the Prodigy to grant rights to sample their song is in

keeping with the group's outlaw image. They took on the Beastie Boys in

September 1998 when the rap trio requested that the Prodigy refrain from

playing their controversial hit "Smack My Bitch Up" (RealAudio

excerpt) at England's Reading Festival. The Prodigy played it.

In 1997 the National Organization for Women called for a boycott of Time

Warner for releasing "Smack My Bitch Up," on Maverick Records. The Fat

of the Land (1997), the Prodigy album featuring the song, was pulled

from the shelves of Wal-Mart and Kmart stores. The song features the

sampled hook "Change my pitch up/ Smack my bitch up" from an old-school

hip-hop song by New York's Ultramagnetic MC's.

Prodigy leader Liam Howlett is working on the band's follow-up to The

Fat of the Land, Sharp said. Howlett has completed an as-yet-untitled

song, which he collaborated on with 3D of the trip-hop band Massive Attack.

Sharp said the song is intended for the next Prodigy album, which has not

been scheduled for release.

(Staff Writer Brian Hiatt contributed to this report.)