No Sleep till Brooklyn: The Story of The Beastie Boys

Staff Writer: Hannah Johnson

The Beastie Boys, a group that takes the cake in getting everyone young and old excited. Their cheesy songs along with their dorky sense of style really helped bloom their worldwide fame. Formed in 1978 as a punk band, the Beastie Boys have changed their music style throughout the years to match the sound we all know and came to love. Consisting of Mike “D” Diamond on vocals and drums, Adam “MCA” Yauch on vocals and bass, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz on vocals and guitar, the group became very successful is now named one of the best- selling hip -hop artist of all time. “The Beastie Boys always take me back to a time when everything was okay…nostalgia is key.” – Alex Brodofsky, senior at WHS.


The Beastie Boys in their younger years posing for a photo.


Back in the day, the band was originally called The Young Aborigines, and after making punk music and experimenting with different sounds, the band made moderate local fame with their 1983 experimental hip-hop 12-inch with a name too inappropriate to say…. sorry. Shortly afterwards, drummer Kate Schellenbach dropped out as the band transitioned fully to rap and hip-hop. After a while of touring with big names like Madonna, the new group named The Beastie Boys released their debut album, which was of course titled, Licensed to Ill.

The group soon made worldwide fame, selling over 26 million albums in the U.S and 50 million around the world. Billboard magazine had named them the highest selling rap group since they started recording sales in 1991. With seven platinum or better albums from 1986-2004, they were noted to be one of the longest-lived hip-hop acts in the world. The Beastie Boys are considered very influential in both the hip-hop and rock music scenes, with artists from Eminem, Rage Against the Machine, to Sublime and Blur. With the wild fame that the boys had, they decided to use it to speak out on issues they felt very strongly about. In 1994, the band organized the Tibetan Freedom Concert to raise awareness of human rights abuses by the Chinese government on the Tibetan people. This really opened people’s eyes up about who the Beastie Boys really were, since not all artists at the time really spoke out against injustice, especially in other countries.


The Group dancing onstage, giving the audience a performance to remember.


The Beastie Boys in their time of being together had exactly four albums reach the top of the Billboard music charts. Those albums are Licensed to Ill, Hello Nasty, Ill Communication and To the 5 Boroughs. They also have won many big awards like three Grammys, four MTV Music Awards in the U.S., one in Europe and two in Japan. The group also was a nominee for the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of fame, and in 2008 were told that they were going to be the official 2012 inductees. “In my opinion, I really think they deserve to be in the hall of fame, I remember when I was young and me and my brother would jam out to “Brass Monkey.” –Leonard Johnson, music enthusiast.


Young Adam Yauch smiling for the camera.


In the band’s later years, disaster struck. Unfortunately, in 2012 Adam Yauch (MCA) died on May 4 from cancer at the age of 47. In 2013, it is said that the Mike D and Horovitz signed a deal for an autobiography about the band; however, both said they would never perform under the band’s name again out of respect for MCA, thus bringing the Beastie Boys to an end. “Time really went by fast, I really though Adam had died last year. So sad to hear about his passing.” – Jordan Johnson, KSU freshman.


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