I was poised to post this yesterday when Ed dropped by with his Bad Brains piece. It seemed only right that the spikiest of dreads should come first as, if it wasn’t for the Brains (and British Airways as you’re about to find out) there would be no Beastie Boys.
There’s probably no need to share any back story on the B-Boys but it’s possible that someone somewhere doesn’t know they started out as a punk band. In fact it was after seeing Bad Brains in ’79 that Adam Yauch, bitten by the hardcore bug, formed the 1st incarnation of the Beasties with like minded New Yorkers Mike Diamond, Harald Bakke, John Blue Berry (who coined the name) and Kate Schellenbach who later formed Luscious Jackson. A slew of gigs and an EP ensued before poaching Adam Horowitz from The Young & The Useless, and by 1983 the core trio of MCA, Ad Rock and Mike D had switched up the sound with their 1st Hip Hop track “Cookypuss”.
A criminally underrated punk funk anthem, Cookypuss was a 3 and a half minute glimpse into the band’s flourishing future but it’s the b-side which we’re concerned with here at Skank Blog Bologna. Aside being a ridiculous(ly nice) slice of punked out dancehall, “Beastie Revolution” is the track which made the band, and entirely by chance.
Having got wind of British Airways using a portion of the track in an ad campaign, the B-Boys successfully sued, bagging a handsome $40,000, and renting an apartment/rehearsal room above a sweatshop in Chinatown with the booty. It was at 59 Chrystie St where they honed their hip hop act, so without this wicked record and the wonder of the punk-reggae crossover we may never have heard the Beastie Boys we know and love today…