Beastie Boys: Adam Yauch

6월 11, 2012 at 2:39 오전 ,
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By John Glynn

It is now roughly a month since Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch died. A tragic death, he was only 47 years young. In 2009, the performer, director and Tibet campaigner was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. Yauch had no option but to undergo surgery and radiation therapy. Shortly after the surgery, much to music lovers’ delight, he seemed confident that he was on the road to recovery, but in 2011 he admitted that reports he was completely cancer-free were sadly “exaggerated”.

Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys with Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz. Originally, the group started off with a deep-seated, hardcore, punk sound, under the name The Young Aborigines, but soon began to experiment with hip-hop. With this experimentation came a new name.

In 1986, the Beastie Boys shot to fame with their first proper album, Licensed to Ill, which spawned the smash hit singles (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) and No Sleep Till Brooklyn. It was the largest selling rap album of the decade, a truly momentous achievement. Combining rock with truly killer beats, Licensed To Ill was one of the earliest rap records that appealed to a rather conventional audience – and the first to reach the summit of the US charts. It was the fastest-selling debut album in Columbia Records’ history, managing to shift over 750,000 copies in its first six weeks.

Talent in abundance, the band became equally renowned for their ominous, bad-boy personas. The boys were regularly lambasted in the press for their live performances, which sometimes featured enormous inflatable phalluses and cage dancers. And rather ludicrously, when they began to wear the Volkswagen symbol on chains around their necks, it apparently led to an increase in vandalized vehicles. Their controversial conduct indisputably started as a predetermined gag but became something of a self-fulfilling prophecy as their reputation grew. Over time, though, the Beastie Boys transformed their image.

Their follow up album, Paul’s Boutique, was retrospectively considered a work of art; its genre-meandering collection paved the way for artists like Beck, The White Stripes and The Flaming Lips.

As well as being a prominent musician, Yauch was deeply implicated in the movement to free Tibet. A founder and fervent advocate of the Milarepa Fund, Yauch was influential in the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. His efforts managed to attract 100,000 people – the biggest U.S. benefit gig since 1985’s Live Aid. After the horrendous 9/11 episode, the Beastie Boys helped organize New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit gig for a number of victims directly affected by the destruction. His interests also extended beyond music and philanthropy, Yauch was a keen lover of film. He was a man of many talents, and under the pseudonym Nathanial Hörnblowér, he directed many of the Beastie Boys’ music videos. Disappointingly, in April, Yauch was left with no option but to sit out the Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His hectic treatment program delayed the release of the band’s most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. A true great, Yauch is perhaps irreplaceable.

R.I.P. Adam Yauch (August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012)

 

 

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