Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book Review: The Skills to Pay the Bills, The Story of the Beastie Boys

This book, by Alan Light, tells the story of this groundbreaking rap group. It has interviews with the group and various friends and associates. The Beasties were a punk group at first but then the teamed up with Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons who formed Def Jam records. The label also included Run DMC, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and 3rd Bass. The group put out their first record, Polly Wog Stew in 1982 but did not achieve success until Licensed to Ill came out in 1986. They opened for Madonna and they acquired a loyal following.

Michael Diamond (drums), Adam Yauch (bass), and Adam Horovitz (guitar), are three New York natives of Jewish heritage who play their own instruments and share a quirky sense of humor that is evident in their videos. They sample clips from various groups and their DJ is Mixmaster Mike. I will post some of their best videos on this blog. They have some funny videos directed by Spike Jonze and their appearances on Letterman have been top notch. They have released 13 albums over 25 years and it is impressive how they have stood the test of time.

1982 Polly Wog Stew (punk rock EP)
1986 Licensed to Ill (breakthrough with Def Jam and Rick Rubin/Russell Simmons)
1989 Paul's Boutique (teamed up with Dust Brothers)
1992 Check Your Head (first Grand Royal label release)
1994 Ill Communication
1994 Some Old Bullsh#@
1995 Aglio E Olio (EP)
1996 The In Sound from Way Out (instrumental)
1998 Hello Nasty
1999 The Sounds of Science (greatest hits, last Grand Royal release)
2004 To the 5 Boroughs
2005 Solid Gold Hits (greatest hits)
2007 The Mix Up (instrumental)

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