A little after noon this past Friday while sitting in the theater preparing to watch The Avengers, I began to receive text messages that Adam Yauch may have died. Soon after the credits rolled I turned on my phone and found out that the news was true. Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the recently inducted Rock Roll Hall of Fame Beastie Boys, had succumbed to cancer at age 47.
Adam Yauch and his fellow Beastie Boys, Mike D (Michael Diamond) and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) were one of those rare acts that not only survived the 80s but continued to make, change and sell music to this day. The Beastie Boys appeal crossed genres helping to make the Beasties so popular throughout the past three decades. The Beasties were rap, rock, jazz and sometimes something entirely different from anything else. They started out as punk then hooked up with musical co-conspirator Rick Rubin. Fans thought they were rock after the “Fight For Your Right” video, although to everyone’s surprise the listeners heard three white guys rapping on majority of the album, “Licensed to Ill.”
Soon after the Beastie Boys put out three influential albums: “Paul’s Boutique,” “Check Your Head,” and “Ill Communication.” I personally think that “Paul’s Boutique” is one of the best music albums of all time. There are very few albums that I could leave on and not skip a song. Even the best artists have some stinkers. Everybody’s heard the Beatles say Number 9, and there are just too many skits on Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic.” But when it comes to “Paul’s Boutique,” you just hit play and listen. Just thinking about “Paul’s Boutique” has made me miss the dirty house I lived in at college where that CD was always in rotation.
The Beasties defied the labels that were put on them and created their own sound and tone that has not been duplicated to date. With the passing of Yauch, the era of the Beasties has ended. You don’t have an act without MCA. Instead of mourning the end of the Beastie Boys, celebrate their work. Go roll down the windows in your car and blare “Sabotage,” watch dumb frat guys sing along with “Fight For Your Right” at college parties, or just chill out and pop on “Paul’s Boutique” like I will as soon as I’m done writing. We’ll miss you MCA. Thanks for giving me a soundtrack for all those days I decided to skip class.