2012 is off to a painful start with seemingly weekly additions to the obituaries.
Cancer has shown no mercy, taking Levon Helm and, more recently, Adam Yauch (MCA) from the Beastie Boys. The news of their passing caused huge ripples through the music industry and beyond. Although travelling two different musical paths, their deaths were huge and it’s hard not to have been touched by something by either gentlemen, whether you realize it or not.
For me, Yauch’s passing had the most profound effect. Never a “screaming” Beastie Boys fanatic, they did occupy a significant amount of my ear time over the years. On May 4th as emails flooded my inbox, the news hit like I was losing an older, more famous brother. I passed on the news to a couple of friends, sensitive to the fact this would break their hearts.
It was the cow bell and their incessant dancing “Hey Ladies” provoked that hooked me. I don’t have Licensed To Ill, which may cause some to seek me out for a head examining, but I’ve given every subsequent recording a sufficient amount of love. The Boys grew up fast from their Def Jam debut, yet never tired of delivering album after album of solid party material, including last year’s excellent Hot Sauce Committee Vol. 2.
What might be lost on some, following their mindless anthem “Fight For Your Right To Party”, was MCA’s devotion to causes special to him, specifically the environment and the plight of the Tibetan people. There’s a whole different spectrum that will miss him who have probably never heard Ill Communication or Hello Nasty.
So what more can be said? MCA, through thick and thin, high school, the transitional 20s and the difficult 30s, thank you for keeping it funky. Some awesome memories have remarkable songs to go with them, thanks to you.
Donna Summer was also instrumental in the movement of my hips. Her disco era songs have held up nicely and are still guaranteed to inspire sweaty times.
May all our musical brethren who have left us over the last couple of months rest in peace, and may you all be putting together the best concert ever for my arrival.
Sincerely, from my hips to my heart and the top of my brain to the tips of my toes.