Good day all,
The year 1986 was a milestone year in heavy metal history. Some of the greatest metal albums were released in the year to include, Reign in Blood, Orgasmatron, Slippery when Wet, Fatal Portrait, Somwhere in Time, Peace Sells…, and so on. I remember being a 13-year-old kid, just getting ready for high school, playing basketball in my driveway with my boom box blasting, neighbors probably hated it, but most of them where at work anyway. But at that time there was another album blasting out of my boom box and it wasn’t metal , but it wasn’t that far off from it, this album still had the edge and just the right amount of controversy and debauchery to fit right in with metal. But it wasn’t metal, it was rap and it was the Beastie Boy’s Licence to Ill. The first album from the band and the album that brought 3 white guys from New York to the forefront of music.
Now before you lambaste me for talking about a rap album in a metal blog you have to understand that this album was more metal than one might think. First and foremost the fact that Kerry King from Slayer played the guitar track on the song “No Sleep till Brooklyn” makes it automatically metal, but the fact that King also showed up in the video for “You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party” solidifies that theory. Secondly, listen to some of the samples used throughout the album, they come from some of the biggest names in hard rock/metal. Finally, the attitude, material, and overall style of the Beastie Boys fit right in with the metal movement of the time.
Adam Yauch aka MCA passed away this past Friday. A cause of death was not released but it is known that he has had an on and off fight with cancer for a long time. This news is what made me think back to that time in 1986 and what the Beastie Boys meant to heavy metal, or what rap in general, at that time, meant to metal. For instance, without the Run DMC cover of Walk this Way, Aerosmith may have never put their animosities aside and got back together to put out a couple more decent albums. Additionally, without the success and overall likeability of the Beastie Boys we may have never heard the collaboration of Anthrax and Public Enemy on the song Bring the Noise which for both a metal and rap bands was a huge risk, if not with their fans, within their own musical genres. But the Beastie Boys and their debut album helped make this happen, for as sophmoric and lewd a majority of the material was, they where pioneers in a music genre that didn’t take many chances. I guess some credit should be given to Russell Simmons and Rick Ruben for giving these guys a chance, but there isn’t a record company or producer who could have missed with this trio.
With MCA’s death one has to assume that will be the end of the Beastie Boys. As the band matured so did their music and how they viewed the world, which is a good thing. As we have seen with too many of our music icons, not maturing and moving on can be a deadly decision. The Beastie Boys made one of the most innovative and recognizable albums around and gave it the attitude and aggression to allow it to be a part, if somewhat small, of the heavy metal landscape. The world moves on when we are gone and we need to do our best to leave a solid lasting impression. I believe Adam Yauch did just that, and as he moves on to the next life I hope he, his family, and friends find pride and comfort in that knowledge. He along with his fellow Beastie definitely had an effect on a 13-year old metalhead playing basketball in his driveway.
Song of the Day: http://youtu.be/XtztvaGN92A RIP MCA
Until Later, Peace