November 15th marks the thirty year anniversary of Licensed To Ill by New York hip hop band Beastie Boys. Back in 1986 I was aware of the band but probably not knowingly heard them.
Originally two of what would later morph into Beastie Boys were part of a hardcore punk band called Young Aborigines back in 1978. When they became a fully blown hip hop band after the departure of drummer Kate Schellenbach left this was their debut release for Def Jam, predominantly a hip hop label but home to thrash titans Slayer at the time.
I don’t really know when I started appreciating the band, but I would have been drawn to the video for this track that features a cameo from Slayer’s Kerry King and the video for the previous single (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) which features the raucous house party with members of Murphy’s Law in attendance. They were possibly one of the forerunners of the nu-metal scene that was on the horizon with their brand of hip hop mixed with rock music and guitars.
I was aware of the band via the media and their controversial fans. They made the national papers and their fans were branded a disgrace as they were removing the round metal VW logos from Volkswagen cars because they’d seen Mike D wearing one as a necklace. Very far removed from the black metal fans that would surface a decade or so later with their church burnings and murders.
I’m not the biggest fan of the band and didn’t really listen to much more than the singles that were released prior to Adam Yauch’s death in 2012. I think I only own a copy of this CD that I brought cheap from a liquidation sale in a store. I did get to see them live once, and that was only four songs, when they played Wembley Stadium in 2007 as part of the Live Earth London event. The wife and I only had tickets for that because Metallica played a trio of songs and they were playing the stadium the following day. We ended up leaving early, possibly after the Foo Fighters finished, and watched the end of the show on the TV in the hotel bar that was within the shadow of Wembley’s giant arch.
It’s nice to break up the noise every once and a while and that’s pretty easy to achieve with my pretty eclectic musical tastes.