Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer School of Rock - The Beastie Boys

This is one of the groups I'm prepared to catch a little heat on for including in this series.  They aren't really a pure rock band, but they don't fit nicely into any genre.  They cross boundaries, they push limits, they didn't fit in anywhere, but they fit in with everyone.

And, even if you choose to disagree, they belong in this series.  At least for me.

Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock formed the group in the late 70's as a punk band, but quickly began integrating elements of hip hop and rap.  They were a group of white boys challenging everything we thought we knew about music.  They blend all different types of music, from punk to rock to rap to jazz.  They don't fit in a tiny little box, and they like it that way.

Their breakout was touring with Madonna in 1985 and the release of their first major album, Licensed to Ill in 1986.   I remember being a kid back then, when you'd catch a tiny snippet of a heavily censored Beasties song and crave more.  Parents didn't know what it was, radio stations weren't sure what to do with it, but we wanted more.
"Three idiots create a masterpiece" ~Rolling Stone
My brother got the tape and we'd play it and play it and play it.  It's not the kind of music that you can listen to quietly, either.  You can't Fight For You Right To Party on low.  It's simply impossible.

Their next album Paul's Boutique, took the art of sampling and layering to the next level.  In 1994, they headlined Lollapalooza, cementing their status as an icon to my generation.  

One of their most popular songs showcases just how many boundaries they cross.  Sabotage, at it's core, is a hard rock song.  With punk and rap thrown in.  

They've won awards in the rock and rap category, proving that there isn't just one place they belong.  They are one of only 3 predominantly rap groups to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which happened this year, just a few months before Adam Yauch (MCA) died due to complications from cancer.

They never took themselves too seriously, they always had fun.  Their videos are evidence of that.

Where the Beasties will go from here, no one knows.  As a huge fan, I hope that they keep at it.  Even now, over 30 years after they came onto the scene, there is no one else like them.  Not even close.

1 comment:

  1. So glad the B Boys are in your list. They deserve a place on most music lists!


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