I was stunned to hear MCA (Adam Yauch) of the Beastie Boys died after a long battle with cancer last week, at the young age of 47. Of all the bands I grew up listening to, the Beastie Boys are the only one that continued to make great music, twenty-five years after their first hit. Just last year I blogged about one of their last singles, “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win.” I’ve been to many, many shows, but sadly I never saw the Beasties live. My only opportunity was a few years ago, when I bought J tickets to see them at the Hollywood Bowl as a surprise birthday gift. Just a few weeks later, the tour was cancelled due to the return of MCA’s cancer. I honestly believed we would have another opportunity, that they would tour again, but of course that was not to be.
A few Beastie Boys memories:
- Listening to “Brass Monkey” while hanging out with the cool older kids late at night at family camp (and not understanding the lyrics in the least!)
- Going on my first real date in high school with a boy who played “Sure Shot” on a constant loop the entire evening (hitting rewind on his cassette tape over and over)
- Attending a Halloween party in college where the cutest fraternity boys showed up in a big pack dressed as construction workers blasting “Intergalactic” on an old-school boombox (the song of the year)
- J working on my music education after we started dating by immersing me in Paul’s Boutique, his favorite Beasties album
- Turning “No Sleep till Brooklyn” WAY up for dance parties with the kids, until it dawned on us that Norah had gotten to the age we might actually have to pay attention to language and lyrics
Two bloggers I really love, Anna at Door Sixteen and Jenna at sweetfineday both wrote really lovely tributes to MCA that you can read here and here. I think that whether or not you are a fan of the Beastie Boys’ music, the major impact they have had on pop music, rap, and culture can’t be denied. They were true pioneers and innovators, and MCA will be missed. So many musical icons of my youth have passed away recently: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and now MCA. It’s a reminder of how fast life flies by and also of the lasting legacy of great music, literature or art.
(Clip above is a great montage of 25 years of Beastie Boys videos)