*The death of Adam (MCA) Yauch from the Beastie Boys last week came as a shock to an entire generation – yet another reminder that the post-baby boomer generation is, sadly, beginning to lose some of its heroes.
It’s hard to understate the impact that Yauch and the Beasties had on music in the 1980s and 1990s – three Jewish kids from New York City who conquered the hip-hop world with a nearly unparalleled slate of singles and albums fill of of incredible beats, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and groundbreaking, lush production. Whatever the future is for the Beasties, their legacy is secure as one of the greatest groups of all time.
In tribute to MCA, we’ve put together our list of the greatest Beastie Boys moments:
The “Sabotage” video – Directed by the legendary Spike Jonze (who also did Being John Malkovich and Adaptation), this amazing piece of work starred the Boys in a dead-on parody of those formulaic 1970s cop-show credits (think SWAT or Starsky and Hutch). Almost twenty years later, it still shows up on those “Greatest Videos of All Time” lists, for good reason. Also, the song was so great that the Star Trek producers realized that it would still be awesome in the 23rd century.
The guitar riff in “Fight For Your Right to Party” – It’s the song you’ve heard at thousands of sporting events, get-togethers or wild college ravers, and that unforgettable riff (ba-babum-ba, ba-babum ba) is the base that gets the fists in the air and the voices shredded.
The obscure / random cultural references – Where to begin? How about “The Patty Duke the wrench and then I bust the tango?” Or “Like Sam the butcher, bringing Alice the meat?” Or “And Everything I Do Is Funky Like Lee Dorsey / Well, It’s The Taking of the Pelham, One, Two, Three?” Or “I’ve Got More Action Than My Man John Woo / And I’ve Got Mad Hits Like I Was Rod Carew?” And those are just from two of their songs. The Beastie Boys were the original culture name-droppers – a one-stop shop for everything nostalgia, before those references became cool.
The guitar solo in “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” – One of the ultimate air-guitar jams of all time, the sloppily brilliant solo was played by heavy-metal thrasher Kerry King of Slayer. The Beastie Boys were brilliant rappers, but they also rocked out harder than most rock bands of their era.
Awesome; I F—-in’ Shot That – A revolutionary concert film, Awesome; I F—-in’ Shot That! was shot by camcorder-armed audience members at a Madison Square Garden concert – giving the entire special a wonderfully captivating cinema-verite feel.