Charly was an animated cat from a public information film who warned children about road safety, playing with matches and other dangers. The advert inspired Prodigy keyboardist/producer Liam Howlett to splice a bout of mewing and the phrase, "Charly says never go out without telling your mummy first," onto an aggressive techno-rave beat. After becoming a huge hit in the British rave scene of the time, the song crossed over to the pop charts, peaking at #3.
Charly is a slang term for cocaine and the song drew flack for encouraging a flood of novelty "kiddie rave" tracks referencing drug use and clubbers' '70s childhoods, such as "A Trip to Trumpton" by Urban Hype, "Sesame's Treet" by Smart E and "Roobarb And Custard" by Shaft.
Asked by Q magazine how easy it was to clear the public information sample, Liam Howlett replied: "The BBC will have money off you for anything, so it was a piece of piss. Three minutes. It was harder to sample. There would always be '70s programs when I got back from raves, so I knew when 'Charley Says' would be coming and thought if I sampled that it would do these guys' heads in, so I taped it off the telly! It's funny, it makes no sense to anyone outside of England."