Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch Remembered

photo by Gregory A. Perez

For most fans, Adam Yauch‘s death came as a surprise. We had known of his diagnosis and treatment for cancer of parotid gland since the summer of 2009, but updates since then had varied, but mainly positive, ranging from claiming that he had “beat cancer” to “reports... are exaggerated” to “He’s doing OK,” so to learn that the Beastie BoysMCA had died last Friday at the young age of 47 was a hard blow. Far less surprising, though, has been the immediate outpouring of grief, support for his friends and family, and inspiring memories that surfaced through innumerable tributes and remembrances on all forms of media. For a band that started as a trio of noisy party brats to evolve into the thoughtful and revered godfathers of rap they have become is truly a unique phenomenon in the music industry and testifies to the endearing nature of the Beastie Boys themselves. And of the three, Adam Yauch was the most outspoken when it came to influencing how we think about others, whether it was his public apology for the group’s early degrading lyrics (and actions) to gays and women, or his well publicized support of the movement to free Tibet. Over his long career, it never seemed like Yauch took advantage of his celebrity except to do good. If that was just speculation based on his public appearances, there was and is plenty of evidence from those who knew him closely to support it. On Friday, Questlove of the The Roots wrote an endearing remembrance of touring with the Beastie Boys and discovering, against all expectations, that they were in fact really “nice guys” and in the end learning how to grow up and persevere as a band themselves. Memory after memory paints a similar picture, and already it seems like there are too many remembrances on the Internet to read. Gathered here are a just a selection of them -- but even still, it’s a good and worthwhile few hours of your time. In this industry, there are too few role models of MCA’s caliber, and though he may no longer be with us today, Adam Yauch’s actions and ideas will continue to inspire us for a long, long time.

Ad Rock: i'm glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him. thank you.

  • In The New Yorker, writer and early friend Sasha Frere-Jones tells his own story: Peace, Adam

  • Chris Martin of Coldplay sings “Fight for Your Right”:

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