Editor's note: The author is a longtime Beastie Boys fan whose senior quote in his high school yearbook was "I see you lookin' at me saying, 'How he can be so skinny, yet live so phat?'" from the band's song, 'The Maestro.'
My very first exposure to Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys was hearing the song 'Paul Revere' back in school. Well, not really the song -- just the lyrics. Our local radio stations weren't playing the tune, but all the kids in the hallway were singing its hypnotic, steady rhyme anyway.
"Riding 'cross the land, kicking up sand,
Sheriff's posse's on my tail cause I'm in demand"
I didn't even know what a 'posse' was, but nevermind that. It all sounded pretty damn cool. And I was hooked. For life.
*Little known fact: Run DMC came up with the idea for 'Paul Revere' See?
This, I imagine, is pretty much how millions of other Beastie Boys fans -- either casual or hard core -- got into the band. 'License to Ill' was the musical gateway drug to their intoxicating, self-created world of too-cool-for-school style, bouncy pass-the-mic rhymes and loopy humor. "Brass Monkey," "Fight For Your Right (to Party)," "No Sleep Til Brooklyn"... these were not songs. They were anthems. Right? How many times have we heard that?
But over their three-plus decades of making music, "Licensed to Ill" ended up being the group's bombastic, attention-grabbing musical outlier. If their career were a movie, it was the big shoot-em-up, explosion-heavy, dinosaur attack from outer space opening scene. And if you left the theater after the dust had settled, you might have missed the best part of the film.
Like "Brass Monkey?" Then I hope you're familiar with the band's next big ol' party anthem, "Shake Your Rump."
Because once they got down to business, MCA, Mike D and King Ad Rock ('that is my name, ya'll drink the Moet, we've got the champagne') made the kind of music that, well ... we'll let music scribe Jonathan Zwickel explain, courtesy of a series of tweets he fired off after the news hit about MCA:
"This ubiquitous "hipster culture" of ours? Beasties instigated it. Crate digging, skate boarding, vintage clothing, punk, funk dub and hip-hop all existed but had never been brought together #beastiesdidit. The difference is there was no irony when the Beasties did it. They were always earnest in their affections. Which made them easy to love."
Admittedly we have a handful of big Beastie Boys fans in the room here at HLNtv.com. And while nobody especially loves being told what music they totally have to listen to! OMG! we've selected eight of the very best of the Beasties tunes that, in addition to the tracks listed above, we think best represent exactly what Zwickel is talking about. The lesser-known tracks that, we humbly suggest, become the soundtrack of your weekend to take some of the edge off the tragic news about Adam Yauch.
2. The Brouhaha
3. Pass the Mic
5. The Move (requires Spotify)
6. Flute Loop
8. Shadrach (amazing video)
Have a favorite Beastie Boys tune? Favorite MCA lyric? Share them with us in the comments.
Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN