Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys)

Adam Yauch (A.K.A MCA) from the American hip hop band the Beastie Boys was born 5 August 1964 . The Beastie Boys formed in 1981 consisting  of threeMCs and musicians Michael “Mike D” Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam “MCA” Yauch (vocals, bass) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (vocals, guitar). Originally formed as a four-piece hardcore punk band by Michael Diamond (vocals), John Berry (guitar), Adam Yauch (bass) and Kate Schellenbach (drums), the band appeared on the compilation cassette New York Thrash, before recording their first EP Polly Wog Stew, in 1982 and the 1983 experimental hip hop 12-inch “Cooky Puss”. From 1984 they released a string of successful 12-inch singles, toured with Madonna in 1985 and released their debut album Licensed to Ill.

Prior to forming the Beastie Boys, Michael Diamond had been in 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. 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. in 1982, the Beastie Boys recorded the 7″ EP Polly Wog Stew at 171A studios, an early recorded example of New York hardcore. The Beastie Boys played Philip Pucci’s birthday recorded as a short concert film of the Beastie Boys, Beastie at Bard College’s Preston Drama Dance Department Theatre. Pucci’s Idea 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. 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 used the “Egg Raid on Mojo” segment of the “Skills to Pay the Bills” video which 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 Adam Horovitz, guitarist of The Young and the Useless. Kate Schellenbach left the band in 1984 And Diamond became drummer. TheBeastie Boys performed their first hip hop track, “Cooky Puss”, based on a prank call by the group to Carvel Ice Cream franchise in 1983. This demonstrated a combination of  rap and the use of samples. Following the success of “Cooky Puss”, they began to incorporate rap into their sets. They decided to hire a DJ for their live shows and ended up getting an NYU student named Rick Rubin. Soon thereafter, Rubin began producing records. He formed Def Jam Recordings with fellow NY University student, Russell Simmons. Following the departure of drummer Kate Schellenbach Diamond, Yauch and Horovitz adopted their own hip hop monikers—Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock respectively. They released the 12-inch single “Rock Hard” in 1984, In 1985, the band opened for John Lydon’s post-Sex Pistols band Public Image Ltd, supported Madonna on her North American The Virgin Tour and headlined with Fishbone and Murphy’s Law with DJ Hurricane. They also toured with Run DMC, Whodini, LL Cool J, and the Timex Social Club. The Beastie Boys released the songs “Hold It Now, Hit It” “She’s on It” And the double A-side 12″, “Paul Revere/The New Style”. In 1986 The band recleased the album Licensed to Ill which was lauded byRolling Stone magazine with the now-famous headline, “Three Idiots Create a Masterpiece”. Licensed to Ill became  the first rap album to go number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and number 2 on the Top R&B album charts and featured the songs, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” and “No Sleep till Brooklyn”

the subsequent Licensed to Ill tour was mired in controversy. It featured female members of the crowd dancing in cages and a giant motorized inflatable penis similar to one used by The Rolling Stones in the 1970s. The tour was also 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 which became a riot approximately 10 minutes after the Beasties hit the stage and culminated in the arrest of Adam Horovitz by Merseyside Police for assault causing grievous bodily harm. Following Licensed to Ill, the Beasties parted ways with Def Jam and ended their relationship with Rick Rubin .  The movie Tougher Than Leather, by Rick Rubin was released as a star vehicle for Run-D.M.C. and Def Jam Recordings with appearances by the Beastie Boys was released in 1988. In 1989 Beastie Boys released their second album, Paul’s Boutique”named after  a Lower East Manhattan thrift store andfeaturing the song, “Hey Ladies”. Rolling Stone described the album as “the Pet Sounds/The Dark Side of the Moon of hip hop.”Paul’s Boutique is a sample-laden album Produced by the Dust Brothers and Matt Dike.Rolling Stone ranked it number 156 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. due to its large array of samples and intricate use of multi-layering. It was remastered and re-released in 2009.

The follow-up album, Check Your Head, was released in 1992. Featuring the songs “So What’cha Want”, “Pass the Mic”, Lighten Up”,”Something’s Got to Give”,”Time for Livin'”, and a Sly & the Family Stone cover. It was recorded in the band’s own “G-Son” studio in Atwater Village, California And the band was influenced to play instruments on this album by Dutch group Urban Dance Squad; with Mike D on drums, Yauch on bass, Horovitz on guitar and Mark Ramos Nishita (“Keyboard Money Mark”) on keyboards and introduced a more experimental direction, with funk and jazz inspired songs. The Beastie Boys signed an eclectic roster of artists to their Grand Royal label, including Luscious Jackson, Sean Lennon and promising Australian artist Ben Lee. The group owned Grand Royal Records until 2001 when it was then sold. In 1993, the Beastie Boys contributed the track “It’s the New Style” (with DJ Hurricane) to the AIDS benefit album No Alternative, produced by the Red Hot Organization.The Beastie Boys also published Grand Royal Magazine, with the first edition in 1993 featuring a cover story on Bruce Lee, artwork by George Clinton, and interviews with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and A Tribe Called Quest MC Q-Tip. A 1995 issue contained a memorable piece on the mullet. The Oxford English Dictionary cites this as the first published use of the term, which was coined, and popularized, by the Beastie Boys”. Grand Royal Magazine is also responsible for giving British band Sneaker Pimps their name.

The Beastie boys next album Ill Communication, was released in 1994, Featuring the singles “Get It Together” and “Sabotage” with a music video, directed by Spike Jonze. In 1994 the Beastie Boys also released Some Old Bullshit, featuring the band’s early independent material and headlined at Lollapalooza with The Smashing Pumpkins. the Beastie Boys also performed three concerts (in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C.) to raise money for the Milarepa Fund and dedicated the royalties from “Shambala” and “Bodhisattva Vow” to the cause. The Milarepa Fund aims to raise awareness of Tibetan human rights issues and the exile of the Dalai Lama. In 1996, Yauch organized the largest rock benefit show since 1985’s Live Aid – the Tibetan Freedom Concert, a two-day festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco that attracted over 100,000 attendees. The Beastie Boys also played shows at Madison Square Garden and Chicago’s Rosemont Horizon. One dollar from each ticket sold went through Milarepa to local charities in each city on the tour. The Beastie Boys toured South America and Southeast Asia and released Aglio e Olio, a collection of eight songs lasting just 11 minutes harking back to their punk roots, in 1995. The in Sound from Way Out!, a collection of previously released jazz/funk instrumentals, was released on Grand Royal in 1996 as a homage to electronic pop music pioneers Perrey and Kingsley. In 1992, The Beastie Boys were prosecuted for unlicensed infringement ofcopyright after they sampled portions of the sound recording of “Choir” by James Newton in various renditions of their song “Pass the Mic” However The district court said that no license was required because the three-note segment of “Choir” lacked the requisite originality and was therefore not copyrightable.

Beastie Boys next album Hello Nasty was released in 1998 and featured bombastic beats, rap samples, and experimental sounds together with the addition of Mix Master Mike, this featured the song “Intergalactic”. The Beastie Boys won two Grammy Awards in 1999, receiving the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album for Hello Nasty as well as the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Intergalactic” and won Video Vanguard Award for their contribution to music videos at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. they also won the award for Best Hip Hop Video for their hit song “Intergalactic” At the1999 MTV Video Music Awards. The Beastie Boys also toured during 1998 and in1999, Beastie Boys joined Elvis Costello to play “Radio Radio” on the 25th anniversary season of Saturday Night Live. In 1999 The Beastie Boys released The Sounds of Science, a two-CD anthology of their works featuring one new song “Alive”, reachedIn 2000, Beastie Boys had planned to co-headline the “Rhyme and Reason Tour” with Rage Against the Machine and Busta Rhymes, but the tour was canceled when drummer Mike D suffered a serious injury following a bicycle accident which needed surgery and extensive rehabilitation. By the time he recovered, Rage Against the Machine had disbanded, although they would reunite seven years later. Mike D recorded an album, Country Mike’s Greatest Hits, Under the name “Country Mike” and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz’s side project BS 2000 also released Simply Mortified in 2001.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The band increased their level of political activism  organizing and headlining the New Yorkers Against Violence Concert at the Hamerstein Ballroom in October 2001. in 2002 the Beastie Boys released the protest song “In A World Gone Mad”, against the 2003 Iraq war. The 19th and 20th Tibetan Freedom Concerts were held in Tokyo and Taipei, Beastie Boys’ first Taiwan appearance. Beastie Boys also headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The song “”Ch-Check It Out”, debuted on The O.C. in “The Vegas” episode from Season 1. In 2004 The Beastie Boys released the album To the 5 Boroughs featuring the song “Ch-Check It Out”. The album caused controversy with allegations that it installed spyware when inserted into the CD drive of a computer. The band denied this, stating that there is no copy protection software on the albums sold in the US and UK. The Beastie Boys rleased their next album the Mix-Up in 2007 and played several tracks from the album at the 2007 Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland and appeared at numerous festivals includingSónar (Spain), Roskilde (Denmark), Hurricane/ Southside (Germany), Bestival (Isle of Wight), Electric Picnic (Ireland) and Open’er Festival (Poland). Beastie Boys performed at the UK leg of Live Earth July 7, 2007 at Wembley Stadium, London with “Sabotage”, “So What’cha Want”, “Intergalactic”, and “Sure Shot” andworked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, on their 2007 summer tour.

In 2008 They won a Grammy for The Mix-Up in the “Best Pop Instrumental Album” category at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards and Hello Nasty was also reissued on September 22, 2009. The Beastie Boys appeared at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and performed the new single from the album titled “Too Many Rappers” alongside rapper Nas. Yauch announced the cancellation of several tour dates and the postponement of the new album due to the discovery of a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland and a lymph node. The group also had to cancel their co-headlining gig at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal as well as a headlining spot at 2009’s Lollapalooza and also another headlining spot for the first night of the All Points West Festival in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Beastie Boys album Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 was eventually released in 2011 containing the same 16 tracks originally slated for inclusion on Hot Sauce Committee Part 1 including a collaboration with Santigold who co-wrote and sang with the band on the track “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”. The third single for the album was “Make Some Noise” was made available for download on April 11, 2011 as well as a limited edition 7″ vinyl single for Record Store Day five days later with a Passion Pit remix of the track as a b-side which wassubsequently made available via their blog.

In 2012 The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fames by Chuck D and LL Cool J. Sadly On May 4, 2012, Yauch died from cancer at the age of 47. In 2014  A children’s playground in Brooklyn was renamed for Adam Yauch in his honour. Mike D stated that neither he nor Horovitz would ever perform under the name the Beastie Boys again out of respect for Yauch. Sadly Founding Beastie Boys guitarist John Berry died on May 19, 2016, aged 52, as a result of frontotemporal dementia,after a decline of health for several years. He was credited with coming up with the Beastie Boys name, and played guitar on the first EP the Beastie Boys recorded. Before the Beastie Boys, he was also a part of Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars, Bourbon Deluxe, and Idaho. The first Beastie Boys show took place at Berry’s loft.

The group sold 22 million albums in the United States and 40 million albums worldwide, making them, according to Billboard, “the biggest-selling rap group” since 1991. With seven platinum or better albums from 1986–2004, the Beastie Boys were one of the longest-lived hip hop acts worldwide, and they continued to enjoy commercial and critical success more than 25 years after Licensed to Ill. In 2009, the group released digitally remastered deluxe editions of their albums Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty. Their eighth studio album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, was released in 2011, and received positive reviews. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2012, “just the third rap group to enter the Hall, after Run-D.M.C. (2009) and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (2007).” Sadly The following month, MCA died of cancer of the parotid salivary gland, which led to the speculation that the other members may decide to disband the group.


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