The news has just broke that Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys has passed away. Now I have been a bit sorrowed over the loss of various musicians, actors, artists through the years. Usually because a work they crafted touched me emotionally, or reminded me of a moment in time. There are times when I have expressed sorrow at the passing of someone who showed potential that they never quite achieved, or who passed just as they were beginning to shine. However, on this news today I am genuinely gutted!
I didn't know MCA personally, but the Beasties have been with me since I was 13 and License To Ill was released. An amazing mix of lyrical mastery, and japery, the album still ranks as one of my favourite purchase of all time, and it has seen many replays over the years. Never a group to rush out a new album, the Beasties took 3 years to bring us Paul's Boutique - possibly their best album ever - and then Check Your Head, and Ill Communication. Following this came a burst of EPs, filling the four year gap before Hello Nasty landed in 1998, an album that showed that the guys were still fresh sounding at a time when it seemed everyone was a rapper. Six years passed before they once more made their mark with To The 5 Boroughs, and a further 7 years before they returned to rap on Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (in the interim an instrumental album, The Mix-Up, showed the band were more than just lyrics)
The delay in the last couple of releases were due to Adam's battle with cancer, and with the release of Hot Sauce it seemed he had won the fight.
All through this history of Beastie Albums, I have been there. Every album was awaited, and then absorbed. They have entertained me, enlightened me, and thrilled me in equal measure. From the hard fury of Sabotage, to the cow-bell ring of Hey Ladies, I have always loved the Beasties.
In losing one of them, I feel it is the end of an era that helped define my life from my early teens to present.