The Beastie Boys were a formidable force during the 1980s. As a trio under Def Jam, akin to Run-DMC, with the powerhouse of Rick Rubin behind them, the Beastie Boys (comprised of Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock) took over the East Coast with their hits and shook the scene with their project, License To Ill.
As a rock-inspired New York-based trio, the collectivehad hard-hitting singles and an edgy aesthetic. Mike D and Ad-Rock both grew up in Manhattan, while MCA was raised in Brooklyn Heights.
The collective was formed in 1978, and by the mid-’80s, they had quickly risen to the top of the charts. The group first gained traction in New York and its surrounding regions, then went nationwide with the help of Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin at Def Jam.
One of the trio’s most integral figures is Adam Horovitz. As the frontman of the collective, he brought vision and creativity to the group as a lyricist and guitarist. Born to Jewish parents, Horovitz was first a fan of rock. Still, he quickly got drawn to hip-hop due to its similar rebellious nature and began to create a rap-rock fusion track in the shape of 1986’s ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn.’
Horovitz, in his twenties, had a love for punk and realised he could fiercely spit rhymes over similar types of music. With the support of Def Jam, License To Ill topped the Billboard 200 and entered the top 10 in the UK. It has since been certified Diamond and has sold over 11 million units. With such an interesting musical journey, many fans have been intrigued by Ad-Rock and what he listened to before he achieved fame.
In a 2015 interview with NME, Horovitz spoke about his past musical interests. When asked about the first song he fell in love with, Horovitz responded, “Kiss – ‘Detroit Rock City.’ I have older brothers and older sisters, so 45s were a big part of my childhood. I remember when I was eight years old, we used to go at lunchtime to the sandwich place around the corner from school. My two favourite songs were ‘Detroit Rock City’ by Kiss and a song called ‘Dazz’ by a band called Brick. I used to stand on the little stage there and do my dance performances.”
However, when asked about the first album he ever bought, Horovitz gave an extremely compelling response, admitting that the first album he ever bought was The Rocky Horr Show’s official soundtrack. “I frickin’ loved it! I probably got it from Crazy Eddie’s, a chain store in Manhattan. I was eight or nine. I had one album already, my dad stopped his car to get a sandwich, and when he came out, he said, ‘Here, you should have this,’ and gave me The Rolling Stones’ Out Of Our Heads album. I have no idea why he bought that for me. I’ve never heard my dad listen to The Rolling Stones. I guess he wanted me to start collecting records.”
You can hear The Rocky Horr Show’s official soundtrack below.