On Friday 4 May 2012, the Beastie Boys’ frontman Adam Yauch passed away. Better known as MCA, Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 when a tumour was discovered in his parotid gland.
Although he underwent surgery and radiation therapy, Yauch never managed to fight off the disease, and although The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April he was unable to attend due to his health. Yauch’s cancer treatments also delayed the release of the Beasties most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2.
The Beastie Boys were originally largely dismissed as gimmicky hip hop when they hit the charts with novelty hit “Fight for Your Right (To Party)” on 1986 debut License to Ill. They responded to this perception with a marked change of direction with their sophmore album, 1989′s Paul’s Boutique. Although this masterpiece was largely ignored at its release, today it is held as a seminal record in the history of modern music.
They went on to become one of the biggest acts on the planet, releasing eight studio albums, winning three Grammys, three MTV Video awards, and selling millions of records across the planet.
As well as being heavily involved in the music, Yauch also turned his hand to moving pictures – under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, he directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including “So Whatcha Want,” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and “Ch-Check It Out.” Under his own name he directed last year’s Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for “Make Some Noise” from Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (which starred Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the 1986 Beastie Boys, making their way through a half hour of cameo-studded misadventures before squaring off against Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Beastie Boys of the future).
The band have posted a statement on their website in memorial of founder member MCA and his philathropic work: “In addition to his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums as Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and more, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985′s Live Aid. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.”
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.
RIP, MCA – and thanks for the memories.
Shazam gives you instant satisfaction when you want to know what song is playing:
- Identify music
- Preview and purchase songs
- Watch music videos
- Get song lyrics, album reviews and more!