As much as I love L.A., it’s great to be home, so I’m going to keep the New York theme going for the next few days.
This is one of the Beastie Boys‘ signature songs, and one of their most recognizable, from their major label debut album, Licensed to Ill. Rick Rubin, who produced the album, recruited Slayer guitarist Kerry King to play the guitar riff (he shows up at around 3:30 in the video); Rubin had also produced Slayer‘s groundbreaking Reign In Blood the previous year. The video embedded below is a good illustration of how television has become more permissive regarding potentially offensive content. When it initially aired on MTV, some of the lyrics were censored, such as:
- Our manager is crazy, he always <bleep> <bleep>
- MCA’s in the back, ‘cuz he’s <bleep>in’ with a <bleep>
- Autographed pictures and classy <bleep>
Now they just air it totally uncut. The irony is that because those lines were censored, they’re the lyrics I remember the most. The Beastie Boys themselves changed some of those lyrics over the years when performing No Sleep till Brooklyn live, because as they got older, their attitudes towards women and drugs evolved, just like their music.
If the embedded video doesn’t load, click to watch
The Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn at YouTube.