Last Friday morning, Scott thought the Music Monday was written and complete. Then he heard what you probably already know. Adam Yauch, a.k.a MCA, a talent dead too young. It goes without saying that the very first member of the Beastie Boys deserves to be remembered, so Scott threw out his work and began again from scratch. This Monday, Music Monday's paying tribute.
No Sleep Till Brooklyn
Today I've only got a little commentary about things you probably should know, and maybe you know them already. I figure if you don't, you'll be happy I told you, and if you do, you'll understand why some details are worth hearing again. The loss of Adam Yauch is a sad thing for music and I invite you to drop your own memories and links in the comments after the jump. Today we'll be reflecting on MCA and the Beastie Boys… even including that song they didn't really like anymore.
Remember that our new Spotify playlist will be featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. The theme of the mix is History Songs. Just don't fire it up until after you finish saying good bye to MCA inside.
Be aware going in: not all Beastie Boys songs are radio friendly and some may be not safe for work. If it'll get you fired, put on some headphones or just listen to them later.
(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)
Three Idiots Create A Masterpiece was the Rolling Stone headline, and it basically summed up what the whole world was thinking. For most of America, The Beastie Boys seemed to appear out of nowhere in 1986. In reality, though, they'd been working their way up the chain for ages.
The Beastie Boys had their first gig in 1981, at MCA's birthday party, and somehow quickly scored opening spots at CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. Back then they were just teenage punks so of course they'd be all over the idea of recording their prank phone calls to Carvel. After adding few dance-friendly loops, "Cookie Puss" became a tiny underground hit in the NYC clubs. However the band's first real score was a lawsuit. British Airways used a portion of the trio's music without their permission, and the band won big in court. The money bought them a chance to quit their day jobs and get better.
You're right, the above song is from Paul's Boutique! But before they even released their first LP, the Beastie Boys were opening for Public Image Ltd. and Madonna. They honed their goofball style and, let's face it, their first release really was just a party record. Even after "Fight For Your Right" turned into a hit, it was still super-easy to dismiss these sons of playwrights and painters as some proto-Jerky Boys clone. I was in junior high when I first heard "Fight For Your Right" and I loved it, but I had all but forgotten about the band a few years later, when Paul's Boutique first appeared. Trust me, there was no one in the world who expected a new Beastie Boys release to sound like that record. And then? They kept going!
So What Cha Want
By the 90s the Beastie Boys were clearly at their creative peak, and those three punks were fully grown men. The band was respected, could live comfortably, and felt sort of bad about their youthful mistakes. They knew that famous white guys in hip hop were kind of a strange thing, but they also knew they'd proved themselves, and a lot of black artists truly respected what they'd done. Even jazz genius Miles Davis supposedly enjoyed Paul's Boutique, which is basically the best praise a musician could want!
And during those groundbreaking, genre-changing years, Adam Yauch was writing lyrics, performing with the band, designing the album covers, plus directing music videos under a pseudonym. Even before moving into the Hello Nasty and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two phases, MCA had transformed his persona from "sitting in the back because he's skeezin' with a whore" to "seeing others are as important as myself/I strive for a happiness of mental wealth."
That's not bad at all for one lifetime. R.I.P to the original Beastie Boy, and hope you'll be great in your next loop, MCA. The transformative legacy you've left behind is more than anyone could have asked from you.
Take a moment of silence to say goodbye to a real artist. Maybe post your own MCA tribute or Beastie Boys fact in our comments. Then, if you're up for it, stop by our Turntable.fm room for some Music Monday enjoyment. Time it right and you'll may find us playing tributes to the late, great MCA. Additionally some images were taken from the corresponding Wikipedia page and appear under fair use.