Beastie Boys Unisex T-Shirt
Finally, a way to show your respect for some of the greatest icons, legends and pioneers that paved the way past and present. Rock this gear in style and bring back the moments that made you, memories they gave you and/or lessons they taught you. Scroll down for a history lesson with some of our favorite clips.
Welcome to the Respect Due family the Beastie Boys! We salute you.
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The History of the Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City formed in 1981. The group was composed of Michael “Mike D” Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam “MCA” Yauch (vocals, bass) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (vocals, guitar, programming).
The Beastie Boys were formed as a four-piece hardcore punk band, the Young Aborigines, in 1978 by Mike D (vocals), MCA (bass), John Berry (guitar) and Kate Schellenbach (drums). They appeared on the compilation cassette New York Thrash, contributing two songs from their first EP, Polly Wog Stew, in 1982. Berry left shortly thereafter and was replaced by Horovitz. After achieving local success with the 1983 experimental hip hop single “Cooky Puss“, the Beastie Boys made a full transition to hip hop, and Schellenbach left the group soon after. They toured with Madonna in 1985 and a year later released their debut album Licensed to Ill. It was followed by Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, To the 5 Boroughs, The Mix-Up, and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
The Beastie Boys have sold 26 million records in the United States and 50 million records worldwide, making them the biggest-selling rap group since Billboard began recording sales in 1991. With seven platinum-selling albums from 1986 to 2004, the Beastie Boys were one of the longest-lived hip hop acts worldwide. In 2012, they became the third rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the same year, MCA died of cancer. In 2014, Mike D confirmed that the Beastie Boys had disbanded.
Musical style, influences, and legacy
Originally a hardcore punk band, Beastie Boys had largely abandoned the genre in favor of hip hop and rap rock by the time work began on their debut studio album Licensed to Ill. The group mixes elements of punk, funk, rap, rock, Latin music and jazz into their music. They have also been described as alternative hip hop and alternative rock.
Around the time of the release of their debut album, Licensed to Ill, Mike D started to appear on stage and in publicity photographs wearing a large Volkswagen emblem attached to a chain-link necklace. This started a rash of thefts of the emblem from vehicles around the world as fans tried to emulate him. A controversial concert in Columbus, Georgia in 1987 led to the passage of a lewdness ordinance in that city.
The Beastie Boys are considered very influential in both the hip hop and rock music scenes, with artists such as Eminem, Rage Against the Machine, Hed PE, Limp Bizkit, Sublime, Korn, Slipknot, and Blur citing them as an influence. Beastie Boys have had four albums reach the top of the Billboard album charts (Licensed to Ill, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and To The 5 Boroughs) since 1986. In the November 2004 issue, Rolling Stone named “Sabotage” the 475th song on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. In their April 2005 issue, Rolling Stone ranked them number 77 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. VH1 ranked them number 89 on their list of their 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. On September 27, 2007, it was announced that Beastie Boys were one of the nine nominees for the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions. In December 2011, they were announced to be official 2012 inductees.
Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right (Revisited) Full Length
1979–1983: Formation and early years
Prior to forming the Beastie Boys, Michael Diamond was part of a number of bands such as the Walden Jazz Band, BAN, and The Young Aborigines. The Beastie Boys formed in July 1981 when the Young Aborigines bassist Jeremy Shatan left New York City for the summer and the remaining members Michael Diamond, John Berry and Kate Schellenbach formed a new hardcore punk band with Adam Yauch called Beastie Boys. In an interview on The Tonight Show in October 2018, Mike D stated that the Beastie name is an acronym. It stands for “Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Inner Excellence”. The band supported Bad Brains, the Dead Kennedys, the Misfits and Reagan Youth at venues such as CBGB, A7, Trudy Hellers Place and Max’s Kansas City, playing at the latter venue on its closing night. In November 1982, the Beastie Boys recorded the 7″ EP Polly Wog Stew at 171A studios, an early recorded example of New York hardcore.
On November 13, 1982, the Beastie Boys played Philip Pucci’s birthday for the purposes of his short concert film of the Beastie Boys, Beastie. Pucci held the concert in Bard College‘s Preston Drama Dance Department Theatre. This performance marked the Beastie Boys’ first on screen appearance in a published motion picture. Pucci’s concept for Beastie was to distribute a mixture of both a half dozen 16 mm Bell & Howell Filmo cameras, and 16 mm Bolex cameras to audience members and ask that they capture the Beastie Boys performance from the audience’s own point of view while a master sync sound camera filmed from the balcony of the abandoned theater where the performance was held. The opening band for that performance was The Young and the Useless, which featured Adam Horovitz as the lead singer. A one-minute clip of Beastie was subsequently excerpted and licensed by the Beastie Boys for use in the “Egg Raid on Mojo” segment of the “Skills to Pay the Bills” long-form home video released by Capitol Records. “Skills to Pay the Bills” later went on to be certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Berry left the group in 1982 (later forming Thwig, Big Fat Love and Bourbon Deluxe) and was replaced by Horovitz, who had become close friends with the Beastie Boys; Schellenbach left the band in 1984 and was not replaced, with Diamond filling the role of drummer. As of that year, the Beastie Boys band made a full transition to hip hop, and was composed of three young Americans of Jewish descent: “Mike D”, “MCA”, and “Ad-Rock“.
The band also recorded and then performed its first hip hop track, “Cooky Puss“, based on a prank call by the group to a Carvel Ice Cream franchise in 1983. It was a part of the new lineup’s first EP, also called Cooky Puss, which was the first piece of work that showed their incorporation of the underground rap phenomenon and the use of samples. It quickly became a hit in New York underground dance clubs and night clubs. “Beastie Revolution” was later sampled for a British Airways commercial. The Beastie Boys sued them over the use of the song, earning them $40,000 in royalties.
1984–1987: Def Jam years and Licensed to Ill
Following the success of “Cooky Puss”, the Beastie Boys began to incorporate rap into their sets. They hired a DJ for their live shows, New York University student Rick Rubin, who began producing records soon thereafter. He formed Def Jam Recordings with fellow NYU student Russell Simmons, and approached the band about producing them for his new label.
They released the 12-inch single “Rock Hard” in 1984, the second record released by Def Jam crediting Rubin as producer (the first was “It’s Yours” by T La Rock and Jazzy Jay). In 1985, the band opened for John Lydon‘s post-Sex Pistols band Public Image Ltd., as well as supporting Madonna on her North American The Virgin Tour. Then headlining with Fishbone and Murphy’s Law with DJ Hurricane and later in the year, the group was on the Raising Hell tour with Run-DMC, Whodini, LL Cool J, and the Timex Social Club. With their exposure on this tour, the track “Hold It Now, Hit It” charted on Billboard‘s US R&B and dance charts. The track “She’s on It” from the Krush Groove soundtrack continued in a rap/metal vein while a double A-side 12″, “Paul Revere/The New Style”, was released at the end of the year.
The band recorded Licensed to Ill in 1986 and released it on November 15, 1986. The album was favorably reviewed by Rolling Stone magazine with the now-famous headline, “Three Idiots Create a Masterpiece”. Licensed to Ill became the best-selling rap album of the 1980s and the first rap album to go number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, where it stayed for five weeks. It also reached number 2 on the Top R&B album charts. It was Def Jam’s fastest selling debut record to date and sold over nine million copies. The fourth single from the album, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)“, reached number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Although the group has sold over 26 million records in the US, this is their only single to peak in the US top ten or top twenty. The accompanying music video (directed by Ric Menello and Adam Dubin) became an MTV staple. Another song from the album, “No Sleep till Brooklyn“, peaked at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart.
The band took the Licensed to Ill tour around the world the following year. It was a tour clouded in controversy featuring female members of the crowd dancing in cages and a 20-foot tall motorized hydraulic penis similar to one used by The Rolling Stones in the 1970s. The tour was troubled by lawsuits and arrests, with the band accused of provoking the crowd. This culminated in their notorious gig at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, England, on May 30, 1987, that erupted into a riot approximately 10 minutes after the Beasties hit the stage and the arrest of Adam Horovitz by Merseyside Police. He was charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm.
1988–1989: Move to Capitol Records and Paul’s Boutique
After the success of Licensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys parted ways with Def Jam and signed with Capitol Records. Tougher Than Leather, a movie made by Rick Rubin as a star vehicle for Run-D.M.C. and Def Jam Recordings, with appearances by the Beastie Boys when they were still with the label, was released in 1988.
The group re-entered the studio in 1988, emerging with a more artistically mature second album, Paul’s Boutique, released on July 25, 1989 by Capitol Records and peaking at number 14 on the US Album Charts. However, the album was viewed as a disappointment as it failed to match its predecessor (Licensed to Ill was certified at 4 million copies during its run, with current sales at 10 million; Paul’s Boutique was certified gold, sales of 500,00 during its run, with current sales at 2 million). The album peaked at number 24 on the US Billboard R&B charts. Of the album’s two singles, one of them, “Hey Ladies“, reached the Top 40, peaking at number 36 on the US Hot 100. Rolling Stone would describe the album as “the Pet Sounds/The Dark Side of the Moon of hip hop.” Produced by the Dust Brothers and Matt Dike, Paul’s Boutique is an extremely sample-laden opus and is considered one of the strongest works by the Beastie Boys. Rolling Stone ranked it number 156 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It is also considered a landmark in hip hop recordings due to its large array of samples and intricate use of multi-layering. Paul’s Boutique has current sales of two million copies, despite the initially slow commercial reception. The album received its name from a Manhattan thrift store. The album was remastered and re-released in 2009.
Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn (Official Video)
Beastie Boys – Hold It Now, Hit It (Official Music Video)
Beastie Boys – So What Cha Want (Official Music Video)
Beastie Boys – Intergalactic (Official Music Video)
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