We take a lot for granted these days, but the right to party is not one of them. One name stands out in pantheon of great bands that fought for this right; they were three guys from New York who called themselves Beastie Boys. They are legends among legends, and remain at the top of that very special list.
Their trademark vocals, sick rhymes and samples created 7 platinum records, countless world tours and some of our favorite memories from back in the day.
In 1978, the Beastie’s immediately emerged as a hip-hop juggernaut. Through most of the band’s existence, the group featured three notorious fellas that we know so well…. there’s the one, the only, Michael “Mike D” Desmond (vocals | drums), Adam “MCA” Yauch (vocals | bass) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (vocals | guitar | programming). They’ve had band-mates here and there, but for their overall existence, the three have been the core of the band.
First known as, “Young Aborigines” (that Adam Yauch changed the name from when he joined the band in 1981) the Beastie’s started as a 4-piece experimental hardcore punk band. They quickly became a group of young best friends playing in clubs that they weren’t even old enough to drink in. They weren’t becoming as popular as quickly as they would have liked so someone suggested they become a hip-hop group; not being glued to their current style, they said, “Okay.”
The bands first hip-hop track, “Cooky Puss” was a huge hits in the clubs. It was based on a prank phone call by the group to an Ice Cream shop. This was their first song that incorporated hip-hop and it quickly caught the attention of the New York underground scene. With its success, the Beastie’s began to incorporate more rap into their sets. They hired a student from New York University for their live shows to DJ for them, Rick Ruben. Ruben went on to form Def Jam Recordings with fellow NYU student, Russell Simmons and produced their single, “Rock Hard” on their new label.
Fast-forward to 1985, that year they were asked to go on tour and open for Madonna, an odd paring, but it worked. A year later, they released “Licensed to Ill.” Their fourth single, “(You Gatta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. That song would later be named to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
Oddly enough, that song was written as an ironic parody to “party”-themed songs but the irony was lost on most listeners. Mike D has said, “The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different. There were tons of guys singing along to ‘Fight for Your Right’ who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them.”
In 1989 Paul’s Boutique was a different kinda of coolness that the Beastie’s unleashed. It definitely wasn’t for the mainstream, but their die-hard fans loved it. Songs like Shake Your Rump still holds a strong place among their fans. The follow-up 1989 album, Check Your Head featured more classic sick-ass ryhmes. That album solidified a truce between the worlds of hip-hop and alternative rock, creating a kind of global hipster coalition that cast a decade-long shadow.
It was in 1994 that the Beastie’s hit it big with Ill Communication. Songs like Sure Shot and SABOTAGE became anthems and uber hits and were played on radio stations from coast-to-coast and internationally. SABOTAGE became an MTV and VH-1 favorite.
They finally broke through to mainstream America, and the universe fell in love with them after appearances on Letterman.
Over their distinguished career, they put out four other full length albums, “Hello Nasty,” “To the 5 Boroughs,” “The Mic-Up” and “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.” Their full catalog has produced some of the music industries most iconic songs. To this day you can hear some of their other hits on the radio like “Intergalactic,” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” “Paul Revere,” “So What’cha Want,” “Brass Monkey,” “Sure Shot,” “Make Some Noise,” “Remote Control,” “She’s On It,” “Body Movin’,” “Girls,” “Ch-Check It Out,” “Shake Your Rump,” “Hey Ladies” and “She’s Crafty.”
Since day one, the Beastie’s have been part of the soundtrack of our lives. Once MCA passed away of cancer, group after legendary group paid homage to them by performing covers of their music in one form or another.
In 2012, the Beastie’s received the highest honor of all, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The award made them only the third rap group to be inducted into Hall. Presenting them were Chuck D of Public Enemy and LL Cool J. Beastie Boys contribution to the world is immeasurable, they literally altered the direction of popular music at least three times, and lived to tell about it.
Beastie Boys may not be active anymore, but Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond have been busy. Over the last few years they’ve put together what they call a “live documentary”. A theatrical evening in which the two are onstage and speak about the group’s 30-year history with images from all media on a large screen behind them.
This live documentary was directed by Spike Jonze (whom also directed the infamous, “Sabotage” video of the band decked out in 70’s police garb, eating donuts and jumping over stuff)
The Beasties Boys Story Is Out NOW
Exclusively on Apple TV Plus
“THERE’S NO ADEQUATE MEASURE FOR THE IMPACT THAT THE BEASTIE BOYS HAD ON RAP MUSIC”