I’m kind of amazed by how many of my Facebook connections have been sharing “Firsts” involving the Beastie Boys in the wake of Adam Yauch’s passing. Anyway, I figured I’d throw my story on the pile.

When I was seven years old, an older kid in the neighborhood turned me on to “(You Gotta) Fight for your Right (To Party)” (And also “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi). Somehow, on a subsequent trip to K-Mart, I talked my Mom into buying the “Licensed to Ill” LP.

As I was only seven, I was still very dependent on parental assistance when it came to actually playing records, so there wasn’t much privacy involved in the inaugaral listening. I distinctly remember dancing around in circles in the living room as side one played out, and going extra crazy as “Fight for Your Right” concluded the side. We didn’t make it to side two, but we did loop “Fight for Your Right” a few more times.

My Mom then explained that the record was a little too grown-up for me, and that she’d take me to get any different record I wanted. I agreed to this swap, but made her promise to save the record for me until I was grown-up enough (Genius move: theoretically doubling my record collection, just like that). If I recall correctly, the replacement I selected was the K.I.D.S. Incorporated Soundtrack (Hey, look! You can download it here!) – the look of disbelief on the older neighborhood kid’s face on hearing the details of this swap is another thing I remember well.

At any rate – fast forward to my impossibly awkward high school years. At this point, I had completely forgotten about the Beastie Boys record. I had also become obsessed with all kinds of weird music, and consequently obsessed with all things vinyl. One day, out of the blue, my Mom asks me: “Do you remember this?”

…and so the LP was returned to it’s true and rightful owner (Thanks, Mom!). I no longer have the K.I.D.S. Incorporated Soundtrack, but I still have “Licensed to Ill.”

Cut to today, the day that Adam Yauch lost his life to the same disease that also claimed my Mother. I pulled the record out and started playing it as I sat down to write this. After side one ended, I started to get up to go flip it over, but thought it fitting to leave it at that.

Some insane things I learned while writing this:

  • Per wikipedia: “The original title for this album was “Don’t Be a Faggot,”” but Columbia Records flatly refused to release the album with this title and pressured Russell Simmons (their manager and Def Jam label head) into having the Beastie Boys come up with another name. Adam Horovitz has since apologized for the band’s earlier title.”
  • At age seven, I had a mega-crush on the character “Stacy” on K.I.D.S. Incorporated. As a byproduct of googling the Soundtrack while writing this, I have discovered that “Stacy” grew up to be Fergie, of the Black Eyed Peas. Do people know this? How did I not know this until now? To be clear: I no longer have any sort of crush on Fergie.

Finally, the Onion reminds everyone: they are fast, they are ruthless.