Monday, May 7, 2012

5.7.12 Hero of the Day: Adam Yauch

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on

Name: Adam Yauch
Age: was 47
Occupation: Beastie Boy
Last Seen: Brooklyn
Awarded For: being a great humanitarian and performer

Sometimes, one must wonder why too many great people die too young. Now, we can add Adam Yauch to the list.

When the Beastie Boys arrived on New York's punk rock scene in 1979, they were a young, brash group of youngsters opening for bands such as Bad Brains and The Misfits at such clubs like the famed CBGB's. The band originally consisted of Yauch, Mike "Mike D" Diamond, plus John Berry and even a non-boy member, drummer Kate Schellenbach (who gained further notoriety as a member of the 1990's chick rock group Luscious Jackson). Berry and Schellenbach pulled out and added Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz. As a punk band, the Beasties released several EPs such as Cooky Puss that were local hits. However, the big time was around the corner.

After signing to upstart rap label Def Jam in 1985, the trio released License to Ill a year later. That album's fifth single, "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" was their biggest hit, reaching #7 on the pop charts. Many felt that song was the first ever to fuse rap and rock together, making the combination a force to be reckoned with. 'Fight For Your Right' paved the way for other rap-rock combos, such as Run DMC/Aerosmith's "Walk This Way", "Epic" from Faith No More and rap metal outfits such as Limp Bizkit and Slipknot.

Throughout the 1990's, the Beasties had a respectable showing on the alternative and rock charts with hit albums such as Paul's BoutiqueCheck Your Head and Hello Nasty. The members were truly growing up, getting married and becoming fathers. And yes, MCA was one of them.

Yauch - under his alias "Nathaniel Hornblower" - directed many of the band's videos, such as "Shake Your Rump", "So What'cha Want" and their most recent hit "Make Some Noise". He showed his humorous side, but he also was quite serious on several issues, especially human rights. A practicing Buddhist, MCA supported the separation of Tibet from China and even formed the Tibetan Freedom Concert which raised millions of dollars for the movement.

Although the Beasties' album sales slowed in the 2000's, the trio was still active, producing hits such as "Ch-ch-Check It Out". However, in 2009, MCA announced that he was fighting throat cancer. The group was forced to slow down their projects, and the cancer diagnosis forced the group to delay the release of their last record, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. That album was released last year, and its only major single, "Make Some Noise" was a modest radio hit. The Beasties were inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame last month, but MCA was too sick to appear. Ad-Rock and Mike D accepted on his behalf.

Sadly, Adam Yauch's fight with cancer ended last Friday at the age of 47. He leaves behind his wife and 13 year-old daughter, his partners in the Beastie Boys and millions of fans all around the world. Many celebs left Tweets regarding his passing, such as the man who helped discover the Beasties, Russell Simmons. He called him "incredibly sweet" and "the most sensitive artist". Even Coldplay paid tribute to the Beasties in concert, playing a somber version of 'Fight For Your Right'.

It's unknown at this point whether or not the Beasties will continue as a duo, but sadly, my money's pointing at "no". I think they were a family and without one of them, why continue? Most of the Beasties' songs call all three's vocals on there, giving them equal billing. Replacing MCA with somebody else is only like replacing Curly with Shemp.

All and all, the Beasties had a great run. Even though this is their 30th year together, it's a somber end to one of rock and rap music's great dynasties. MCA was purely one of the genre's greatest and nicest human beings.

And he left us way too soon. 

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