Friday, April 22, 2011

Beastie Boys -- "Fight For Your Right" (1986)

Your pops caught you smokin' 
And he said "No way!"
That hypocrite 
Smokes two packs a day
Living at home 
Is such a drag
Now your mom threw away 
Your best porno mag 
You gotta fight, for your right,
To paaaaaaarty . . .

I bet you didn't know that the "Beastie" in Beastie Boys stands for "Boys Entering Anarchic States Towards Internal Excellence."  Or at least that's what founding member and former Vassar College student Michael Diamond ("Mike D") says.  (Other sources say that's a backronym.)

The Beasties started as a hardcore punk band.  Here's Mike D's description of what it was like when they were getting started:
H.R. of the Bad Brains
We played our first club gig at A7.  If you came up in NYC hardcore, you probably know the place.  If not, it was like playing in your aunt's living room -- that is, if your aunt's living room had cat pee all over and was a part time crack house. . . . H.R. of the Bad Brains saw us play and gave us a gig opening for them at the closing night of Max's Kansas City.  Talk about irony.  Then we broke up. 

"H.R." was the stage name of Paul Hudson, the lead singer of the Washington, DC, punk group, the Bad Brains -- it stood for "Human Rights."  The Beastie Boys were the first white hip hop group to achieve significant success.  The Bad Brains were something even rarer -- a black hardcore punk band.   

A "Cookie Puss" cake
The Beastie Boys began their transition from punk to hip hop with their 1983 song, "Cooky Puss," which was based on a prank call the Boys made to a Carvel ice cream store.  Carvel sold an ice cream cake named the "Cookie Puss."  (Here's a link to a famous Howard Stern/Fred Norris bit about the "Cookie Puss.")

Rick Rubin
The Beastie Boys hired a New York University student named Rick Rubin to DJ at their live shows.  Shortly thereafter, Rubin founded Def Jam Records, which became the most influential rap music label in the country after Rubin partnered with Russell Simmons (who was responsible for making his younger brother's group, Run-DMC, the first rap superstars).   

Rubin produced the Boys' first album, Licensed to Ill, which was released in 1986.  The first single off that album was "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)."  Breathes there a man (or woman) with soul so dead who never hath sang "YOU GOTTA FIGHT, FOR YOUR RIGHT, TO P-A-A-A-R-T-Y!"?

Without further adieu, here's "Fight For Your Right":

And here's the trailer for a 30-minute video that will be released on May 3 in conjunction with the new Beastie Boys album.  The video features Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, and Elijah Wood as the current Beastie Boys, who face off against older Beastie Boys who have returned from the future -- played by Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly.  (There are cameos by Susan Sarandon, Ted Danson, Rainn Wilson, Stanley Tucci, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Poehler, and many others.)

Here's a link you can use to buy the song on iTunes:

Fight for Your Right - Licensed to Ill

Here's a link you can use to buy it on Amazon:

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