Silver Screen Artists

In the Beginning: The Beastie Boys Early History Starting in 1979!

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The Beastie Boys formed in 1979 in New York City and were originally a punk/hardcore band. They started getting into rap/hip hop in the early '1980's and it was this changed the course of music history forever! Originally formed as a four-piece hardcore punk band, the Young Aborigines, in 1978 by Diamond (vocals), John Berry (guitar), 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. Berry left shortly thereafter, and was replaced by Horovitz. After achieving moderate local success with the 1983 experimental hip hop 12-inch "Cooky Puss", Schellenbach dropped out and the Beastie Boys made a full transition to hip hop, releasing a string of successful singles. They toured with Madonna in 1985 and a year later released their debut album Licensed to Ill. The group sold 26 million albums in the United States and 50 million albums worldwide, making them, according to Billboard, the biggest-selling rap group since the magazine began recording sales data in 1991...

 

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The original line up consisted of Michael Diamond, John Berry, Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach. They had moderate local success as an opening act for many popular punk bands at the time such as The Misfits and Dead Kennedys.

 

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-In 1982 the band met Adam Horovitz.  Adam was in the band, The Young and the Useless, who was opening for The Beastie Boys at the time.  In 1983 John Berry left the Beasties…being replaced by Hortowitz.

 

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(Look at that smile!! Must have know good things were coming!)

It was this same year that they recorded "Cooky Puss"...which was when they started experimenting with adding a hip-hop/rap flare to their already established punk sound! This first hip hop track, "Cooky Puss", based on a prank call by the group to Carvel Ice Cream in 1983. It was a part of the new line-up’s first EP, also called Cooky Puss, which was the first piece of work that showed their incorporation of the underground rap phenomenon and the use of samples. It quickly became a hit in New York underground dance clubs and night clubs upon its release.

In 1983, the new line-up released the Cooky Puss EP, which offered the first evidence of them picking up on the underground rap phenomenon and the use of samples. ‘Beastie Revolution’ was later sampled for a British Airways commercial, earning them $40, 000 in royalties.

 

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(Who remembers the original "Cookie Puss" from Carvel !?!)

Rick Rubin, at the time, was a DJ and student at NYU who was also in the process of producing his own records. Rubin started up a company called Def Jam Recordings (Maybe you've heard of it ) and approached the Beastie Boys to sign to Def Jam with new found fusion style. When the BBoys agreed, drummer Kate Schellenbach left the band.

 

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They immediately began working on their first major recordings with Def Jam and Rubin at the healm. The band's line-up now resembled what we know today: Michael Diamond (aka Mike D), Adam Yauch (aka MCA), and Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock). 1985 offered a series of singles and touring/opening for major acts such as Madonna, Run DMC and LL Cool J. The quick success from this touring made way for their first major release... 

 

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So... in 1986... The Beastie Boys released a "little" album called: LISENCED TO ILL ...Remember that one ?? It was the first rap LP to top the Billboard album chart and eventually sold over 10million copies in the US alone!

 

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...and the rest, as they say... is HISTORY!!

(RIP John Berry and Adam Yauch)

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