By: Bill McAllister
Friday afternoon the news came down that Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA), a founding member of the Beastie Boys, had died at the age of 47. It was announced in 2009 that he had been diagnosed with cancer after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland. Ironically, HBO aired the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony the day after Yauch’s death. The actual ceremony was in April and Yauch did not join band mates Adam ‘Ad Rock’ Horovitz and Mike ‘Mike D’ Diamond as the Beastie Boys were inducted into the R&R HOF along with Donovan, The Faces/Small Faces, Red Hot Chili Peppers and and Axl-less Guns and Roses.
First of all, how ridiculously unfair is it that someone, anyone dies at 47? That in itself is hard to accept. Adam Yauch was a guy who was not only 1/3 of the Beasties, he also was very involved in the Free Tibet movement and after 9/11 he and the Beasties organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a concert to help victims of crime. The Dalai Lama even gave condolences to Yauch and his family…which is nice.
The Beastie Boys absolutely deserve to be in the R&R HOF. They are only the third hip hop/rap group to be inducted along with Run-DMC and Grandmaster Flash. License To Ill was the biggest selling rap album of the 80’s and the first to reach #1 on the Billboard Charts. They followed that up with great albums like; Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication. The Beasties weren’t thought of as a “white rap group” like Vanilla Ice or Third Base. They were unique with a style of music all their own. They were obviously hip hop but they were also punk and rock and later added elements of a sort of space-age, lounge vibe. On top of all of that they were the loudest band I ever saw. I’ve seen The Who, Metallica, Guns and Roses, etc. None of them were as loud as the Beastie Boys.
Reading that Adam Yauch died bummed me out. A loss of an original artist who died way, way too young. Life is definitely not always fair.