The Vinyl 100 or the 100 Days of Vinyl continues with albums #99 and #98 both on the same day (let’s just consolidate two days into one) for a reason. Coming in at #99 is the 1986 debut album by The Beastie Boys – “Licensed to Ill” and at #98 is the third album by Run-D.M.C. – “Raising Hell” also released in 1986. 1986 was a interesting year in my life and that is why for this entry I am going to tell you a story about those two albums and their influence on my youth during that year.
Ad Rock’s first line on which also happens to be the first song on Licensed to Ill and the first line rapped on “Rhymin’ & Stealin'” lets us know that “Because mutiny on the bounty is what we’re all about” and it is only fitting introduction to the Beastie Boys. In the fall of 1986 the Beastie Boys plundered and pillaged, like drunken pirates, their way through America and continued on into 1987 as the sales of their debut album continued to climb. No nautical nonsense there. As a nine going on ten year white kid in 1987 their brand of bravado and boastful lyrics coupled with sweet samples and a mixture of guitar, I dare say “rap rock” was fresh. I am actually surprised, in looking back, that I was allowed to even listen to them considering the lyrical content of most, if not all their songs, was about beer and girls and partying (fighting for that right) and such. My grandmother actually got me the cassette, which in itself says a lot about the time, and possibly the parenting skills of my family. I also distinctly remember my father dating a lady at the time who had a daughter who had the album on vinyl and we would listen to it a lot.
Earlier in 1986 Run-D.M.C. released “Raising Hell” and were opening the door that The Beastie Boys would tear off the hinges. Most of the songs from Raising Hell I’d actually record off the radio at the time, which was also fun to do at the time… I wish I still had those cassettes. Run-D.M.C. would cross over with the help of Aerosmith, though Run-D.M.C. more or less revived/helped the the stalled career of Aerosmith with their cover and duet of “Walk This Way”. I’d visit my mother on the weekends (my parents divorced in 1986) and she had cable and I’d get to watch MTV (again, really ‘lax parenting there.) The video for Walk This Way was in heavy rotation and was pretty cool because for the time it seemed, even though it was an old song, fresh, and it was. It was another example of early rap-rock. This video, and every Beastie Boys video, were always exciting to see when you’re a kid and videos by hair metal artists at the time were just weird and strange to you, which it was to me then. I mean I get it as an adult, but it was scary as a child.
Both albums were the soundtrack of a weird year in my life and had an affect on my youth and would slowly open the door to myself exploring rap during that time. I’d have an on again/off again relationship with early hip hop. I mean, being 10, my musical tastes were barely evolving with the decade that was the 80’s. All I knew in the early 80’s was The Beatles and music on the radio. My dad being a huge Beatles fan, and that is all I heard him play in the house. Having a young mom exposed me to what she was listening to which was popular music from the time on the radio.. Duran Duran, the Police, Queen, etc. Everyone talks about musical moments in culture, the British Invasion, Punk, and Grunge, but there was the hip hop explosion in the 80’s in New York, that kind of gets overlooked, I think. Sometime after 1987 The Beasties quietly went away, they left Def Jam for Capital and took a long time (in 1980’s kid years) to follow up Licensed to Ill with their first masterpiece “Paul’s Boutique” and Run-D.M.C. would follow up Raising Hell with Tougher Than Leather, which sold a lot, but waned in popularity compared to Raising Hell. In the same regards, Paul’s Boutique confused a lot of people (probably white kids) who expected them to make Licensed to Ill 2 and didn’t quite live up to sales expectations either.
For some reason, and maybe the fact that as a child our adolescent years seemed like really large spans of time as opposed to adult years, which fly by due to obligation and responsibility and things like work and pay checks and bills etc… but I lost touch with both artists for a while and had a weird music journey of really liking popular soundtracks of the time. My musical tastes would shift and more or less become more formative in the early 90’s as I entered my young teenage years. I touched upon this with an earlier write up in another post.
If you missed album #100 (History: America’s Greatest Hits) from the 100 Days of Vinyl Here It Is.