In Memoriam: Adam “MCA” Yauch Dies at Age 47 – Musical Tributes, Worldwide Reactions and More

[Latest Updates – Sunday 6PM: Adam Horovitz on MCA, Videos of Barr Brothers, Deer Tick and Juno What and Euforquestra MCA tributes plus additions to “Good Reads” section. Monday 8AM: fun. covers Sabotage, addition to good reads about Yauch as a filmmaker, Santigold pays tribute to MCA and a note from Mike D.]

In a crushing blow to the hip-hop community, Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys has passed away after a long battle with cancer according to Global Grind – website of Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons. Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and was unable to appear at last month’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony for his ground-breaking group.

The Beastie Boys burst onto the pop scene in 1986 with the release of Licensed To Ill, following seven years as a hardcore punk act that evolved into a hip-hop band. Not content to be a pop act, the group made a sharp left turn in breaking new ground on 1989’s Paul’s Boutique. While the critically-acclaimed album didn’t sell many copies upon its release, the group rebounded in a big way with 1992’s Check Your Head and returned to the top of the charts with 1996’s Ill Communication.

As the years went by, the Beastie Boys started hopping back on their instruments with Yauch showing impressive chops as a bassist. In 1998, Hello Nasty went to the top of the charts and saw the band moving into arenas and larger venues. Following the 9/11 attacks, the trio paid tribute to their home city of New York by releasing the under-rated To The 5 Boroughs. Last year the Beasties put out what might be their final album in Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 and was just recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. MCA also was a music producer and directed films. He’s survived by wife Dechen and his daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Yauch’s friends and family.

We’ll keep track of reactions to Yauch’s passing, official statements  and musical tributes below…

Musical Tributes:

  • fun. covered Sabotage at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. [via Idolator]

  • The Barr Brothers covered Paul Revere at The Kazimier in Liverpool. [via @adamicculus]

  • Train covered (You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (To Party) at 02 Academy in Birmingham

  • Juno What and Euforquestra collaborated with a few MCs on a cover of So What’cha Want at Cervante’s in Denver [via Tim Hurley]

  • Deer Tick covered (You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (To Party) at Casbah in San Diego

  • Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Covered (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) and No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn at Jazz Fest
  • Wyllys, Joel Cummins, Steve Molitz, Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, Felix Moreno and Terrence Houston played an impromptu tribute to MCA that included takes on Sabotage, Brass Monkey,  (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) and No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn at The Maison in New Orleans

[Photo by @WanderluSTAR]

  • Coldplay covered (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) at Hollywood Bowl

  • The Roots played Beastie Boys songs as intros and outros on Friday’s episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon [VIDEO]
  • BADBADNOTGOOD closed their Brooklyn Bowl set tonight with No Sleep Til Brooklyn [via Pete C.]

  • Leroy Justice teased No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn during Temporary Cure at The Egg [via Mark W.]
  • BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY! covered Tough Guy at NYC’s Strawberry Festival [via BV]

  • Rusko mashed Beastie Boys songs into his set at The Rave in Milwaukee.

  • Hall Monitors covered Sabotage at Washington D.C.’s Black Cat

Reactions on Twitter / Official Statements / Remembrances:

Adam Horovitz on Beastie Boys Tumblr:

as you can imagine, shit is just fkd up right now. but i wanna say thank you to all our friends and family (which are kinda one in the same) for all the love and support. 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.

Mike D. on Beastie Boys Facebook:

[MSG Tribute via @goldman]

I know, we should have tweeted and instagrammed every sad, happy and inspired thought, smile or tear by now. But honestly the last few days have just been a blur of deep emotions for our closest friend, band mate and really brother. I miss Adam so much. He really served as a great example for myself and so many of what determination, faith, focus, and humility coupled with a sense of humor can accomplish. The world is in need of many more like him. We love you Adam. BTW this photo sent to me by a friend, (thanks Saslow) is just one awesome example of how NYC is such a unique place that amidst it’s huge size and frenetic pace it really opens up it’s heart in so many ways and on on so many levels in times like these. And though it makes me cry sometimes, it has been really amazing and moving to see.

– Mike!/tbtduluth/status/198461139892453376!/paparoach/status/198460678871326721!/asherroth/status/198460187525398530!/DefJamRecords/status/198460025201635329!/atmosphere/status/198461793981562882!/Joeyrusso/status/198462213642665984!/BebeBuellBand/status/198461505270845440

Before we continue, here’s a statement from Beastie Boys publicist, Nasty Little Man:

It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam “MCA” Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.

With fellow members Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums–including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill–win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

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.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Milarepa organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, with net proceeds disbursed to the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) September 11th Fund for New Americans–each chosen for their efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims least likely to receive help from other sources.

Under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including “So Whatcha Want,” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and “Ch-Check It Out.” Under his own name, Yauch directed last year’s Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for “Make Some Noise” from Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, starring 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.

Yauch’s passion and talent for filmmaking led to his founding of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which in 2008 released his directorial film debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot and has since become a major force in independent video distribution, amassing a catalogue of such acclaimed titles as Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze’s Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, and many more.

Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.!/julieklausner/status/198461731624853504

“Adam Yauch brought a lot of positivity into the world and I think it’s obvious to anyone how big of an influence the Beastie Boys were on me and so many others. They are trailblazers and pioneers and Adam will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, Mike D., and Ad-Rock.” – Eminem!/patrickhallahan/status/198459609898426371!/Mike_Doughty_/status/198462280063664131!/Mike_Doughty_/status/198464325126602752!/amandapalmer/status/198461045759684609

“Adam was incredibly sweet and most sensitive artist who I loved dearly and was always inspired by his work. He will be missed by all of us.” – Russell Simmons!/youthlagoon/status/198463865594449920!/common/status/198465475980693504!/311/status/198463489096941568!/robmitchum/status/198467127479517184!/SLessard/status/198467603830816768!/superchunk/status/198465791144902656!/MrTommyLand/status/198460419659141121!/QtipTheAbstract/status/198462518342057985!/theglitchmob/status/198459966166810625!/Phantogram/status/198464740262031360!/robsheff/status/198467785733574656

The New York Mets used Beastie Boys tunes for walk-out music on Friday…

Ruben Tejada — “Intergalactic” Daniel Murphy — “No Sleep till Brooklyn” David Wright — “Brass Monkey” Lucas Duda — “The New Style” Scott Hairston — “Root Down” Ike Davis — “Fight for Your Right”  Andres Torres — “Sure Shot” Josh Thole — “Whatcha Want” Dillon Gee — “Body Movin'”

[via CBS Sports]!/FABNEWYORK/status/198467922983796736!/marcroberge/status/198473711211380736!/bassnectar/status/198476428151492608!/ChuckSchumer/status/198475116789772290!/pattonoswalt/status/198473508328701952!/Chromeo/status/198474732557963264!/best_coast/status/198474393242963968!/majorlazer/status/198472886242123776!/Carrie_Rachel/status/198473262093697024

“Today, the music industry lost one of its brightest stars. As a founding member of the Beastie Boys, Adam was a true pioneer and a creative force who paved the way for so many of us. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans around the world.” — Sean “Diddy” Combs!/zoogma/status/198468971689811968!/KarlDenson/status/198473392221995008!/AlexFreaker/status/198473357879029761!/steadycraig/status/198473221614469120!/matesofstate/status/198470680252121088!/headandtheheart/status/198469862140547072!/ebaynetflix/status/198474800014966784!/freddurst/status/198463302949548032!/KevinSelection/status/198478331996418048

“The Beastie Boys were one of a kind! And so was Adam! They were all an important part of my musical history and integral to the musical revolution that was happening at the time. I’m very sad to hear about Adam’s passing. God bless him and his family” – Madonna!/SherylCrow/status/198478315001102336!/Slash/status/198473628118024193!/nadasurf/status/198480313222037504!/ThatKevinSmith/status/198469721862062080!/duranduran/status/198462212799594496

“I was very sad to hear the news of Adam Yauch’s death yesterday. We looked up to the Beastie Boys a lot when we were starting out and how they maintained artistic control making wicked records but still were on a major label, and the Tibetan Freedom Concerts they organized had a very big influence on me personally and the way Adam conducted himself and dealt with it all impressed me a lot. He was a mellow and v smart guy. May he rest in peace.” – Thom Yorke

“Last night, I took a 14 hour flight to Sydney, Australia from LA, embarking on P.E.’s 80th tour in 25 years. I just landed to 65 texts with the news. Adam and the Boys put us on our first tour 25 years and 79 tours ago. They were essential to our beginning, middle and today. Adam especially was unbelievable in our support from then `til now, even allowing me to induct them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I consider myself a strong man and my father says be prepared to lose many in your post-50 path of life. Still, I’m a bit teary-eyed leaving this plane. R.I.P. Adam aka MCA.” – Chuck D of Public Enemy!/BoyGeorge/status/198459313050746880

“I thought I was the 4th member of Beastie Boys in 7th grade. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t. The first time I ever saw them on stage was a very early show of theirs before License to Ill came out, opening for Run DMC at Joe Louis Arena.  My jaw dropped to the floor!  Not only was I the only white kid in the place (as far as I knew) but I said to myself “Holy shit, there’s other white kids that rap?!?  WOW!”  My mind was blown.  When License to Ill came out, it changed everything.  All of a sudden people didn’t call me a “little rap fag” for liking hip hop. The metal heads liked ’em, the punk kids, everyone!  I dressed like them, pegged and rolled my pants, begged my mom for a pair of Ewings, and so on and so on.  I rapped about not giving a fuck and crazy shit like they did in my early years.  I also followed their lead in later years, after I became my own person, in believing I could really help a lot of people out. MCA I know was at the forefront of this in the group, and for that I am forever indebted.  When I heard the news, a crazy chill went through my body like no other.  I don’t wanna sound all dramatic, but that’s the truth, that’s the impact he had on me. When I was asked to play MCA in a tribute to the Beasties at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame I said to my buddy ,”Shit, I’ve been training for this my whole life!”  I said it that day, what an honor. I’ve participated in many such events, but none have I ever been better prepared for than this one.  My heart absolutely bleeds for my friend Mike D. and for Ad-Rock.  Having lost a member of my own band, I understand a little of what it’s like. I only hope in writing this that it brings a little comfort to his friends, family and fans, what an inspiration this man was and always will be to me. We just performed “Fight For Your Right” a few days ago and of course I insisted on being MCA, or at least trying to be him the best I could. – “And if you feel what I’m feelin’ than it’s a musical masterpiece!” -MCA, Pass the Mic – I HAVE ALWAYS FELT WHAT YOU WERE FEELING IN YOUR MUSIC that you so unselfishly shared with me and the rest of the world.  So in short YES I do feel it, and yes it is. From one of your biggest fans, rest in peace homeboy.” – Kid Rock

“Though I’ve been a fan of The Beastie Boys since I was 12-years old (there is a lost tape of me performing “Fight For Your Right to Party” with my friends at the mall), I got to know Adam when I had the opportunity to work with The Beastie Boys on the song “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” for the Hot Sauce Committee Part Two album. Adam was what I call an instant friend. He was someone whose warmth, honesty, and generosity were felt immediately. As an artist, he is a legend. He is the kind of artist I’ve always aspired to be like. He was the epitome of a new kind of cool, he was hilarious, a visionary, talented on so many different levels from music to film. He was socially conscious, spiritually aware, an activist, and he was always humble and down to earth. It was such an honor to have known him, and I will miss him. This is such a monumental loss, not just for the music and film communities, but for the whole world.” -Santigold!/BJAofficial/status/198469370782027777

Lyor Cohen on the passing of Adam Yauch!/mikaeljorgensen/status/198485138563268608!/perryfarrell/status/198486878452850688!/TheGRAMMYs/status/198496167062028290

“Brooklyn–the Creative Capital of New York City–has made so many great contributions to music and the arts, and in the world of hip hop, they don’t come much bigger than Brooklyn native Adam `MCA’ Yauch and his fellow Beastie Boys. … Of course, Adam’s home borough was immortalized in the Beastie Boys’ 1987 hit, `No Sleep Till Brooklyn,’ and he never forgot where he came from with lyrics like `Open Letter to NYC’s’ `At lunch I’d go to Blimpies down on Montague Street and hit the Fulton Street Mall for the sneakers on my feet.’ The thoughts and prayers of Brooklynites and music fans everywhere are with Adam’s wife, Dechen Wangdu, and their daughter, Tenzin Losel, during this difficult time.” – Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President!/stevemolitz/status/198494805842599936

R.E.M. on Adam Yauch:

We’ve lost one of our greats. A true gentleman with the strongest resolve, humor, and energy to spin the world on its axis…and that is exactly what he did. Let’s not forget he did it with panache and style and beats and in various costumes. Even while dressed as a Swiss mountain climber. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Beasties and to Adam’s family and fans. Michael Stipe and REM!/rainnwilson/status/198470983978467328

Jay-Z on Adam Yauch:

“May a great musical pioneer rest in peace. Our prayers go out to his family, as his hip hop family mourns our loss and celebrates his life.”!/Billy/status/198481104376836097!/gracepotter/status/198489364790116352!/arzE/status/198468385170927617!/JoePerry/status/198530744002416640!/thestrokes/status/198516245744730112

“I always felt like Adam was a brother from an east coast mother: bass, hoops and Bad Brains. A crazy talent whose contributions with his band were inspirational and consistently ground breaking. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and his Beastie brothers.” – Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam)!/OccupyWallSt/status/198470760757608450!/EdwardNorton/status/198540326569394176!/TheRyanAdams/status/198535570736152576!/Anthrax/status/198466496178032640

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4 Responses

  1. Damn shame. Levon first and now this. Beasties were my first concert. 1987 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. Public Enemy and Murphy’s Law opened. The audinece was half black and half white. It was insane. Women dancing in cages, fights in the aisle, and my friend got mugged on the way out the door. All that aside the BB KICKED ASS that night. Brass Monkey indeed. RIP MCA!

  2. Members of Juno What and Euforquestra came together and welcomed some MC’s to the stage on Friday night at Cervantes Ballroom in Denver for a cover of “So Whatcha Want”. The place ERUPTED! Very cool rendition. Also a DJ between the sets spun nothing but Beasties. Great tribute indeed.

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