In 1987, their debut album, Licensed To Ill, became the first rap album to hit #1 in the US. It went on to sell over 10 million copies in America; their next four albums sold at least 2 million each.
They started their own record label, Grand Royal, in 1993 with Luscious Jackson the first signing; they shut it down due to financial difficulty in 2001. Other artists on the label included Sean Lennon and Atari Teenage Riot.
Early on, they were a hardcore band, but the rapping soon became the focus of their shows. Kate Shellenbach (later of Luscious Jackson) and John Barry were also in the group when they started.
Horovitz married actress Ione Skye in 1992. They divorced in 1998.
Dr. Dre from Yo! MTV Raps was their DJ before hosting the show for MTV.
They are from New York City. They are all Jewish, but both Adams are half-jewish, and they never were brought up with religious traditions.
They opened shows for Madonna in 1985 and Run-DMC in 1986. Predictably, their sets didn't go over well with Madonna's fans, but she kept them on the bill anyway. Horovitz explained in the book I Want My MTV: "The audience's hatred for us worked in her favor. When she got onstage, they couldn't have been happier to see her."
Michael Diamond is married to the director Tamra Davis (Billy Madison, Half-baked, Crossroads). Their dog Rufus, who unfortunately passed away, appeared in the Beastie Boys video "Sure Shot."
Horovitz acted in a few movies, notably Lost Angels and Roadside Prophets.
They are all New York Knicks basketball fans.
Horovitz and Jill Cuniff (ex-Luscious Jackson) studied together in the 5th grade.
The three of them lived together twice. The first place was a crappy apartment in Chinatown, before they were really famous. The second was soon after they moved to LA in the late '80s. They lived in a rented house they baptized the G-spot, because their owner was a nice old couple, the Grassholffs.
Yauch and Diamond both went to college. Yauch went to Bard but left after two years, and Diamond went to Vassar, but he gave up after six months.
Phoebe - Rome, Italy, for above 6
"MCA" stands for "Master of Ceremonies Adam."
The Beastie Boys have supported a variety of causes over the years. Some of the benefits they played were for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier and AIDS. They organized the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, which started in 1996 to help liberate Tibet.
Adam Yauch died from cancer at the age of 47 on May 4, 2012.
They have never allowed their music to be used in commercials, and are unlikely to ever do so, as Yauch stated in his will that he would like all future requests to be denied.
The surviving two members of Beastie Boys announced in June 2014 that they were discontinuing the group, following the death of Yauch.
They signed with Def Jam records, but went to Columbia after their first album, Licensed to Ill, was released. This sparked a nasty lawsuit, with the group claiming Def Jam withheld earnings, and Def Jam asserting that Beastie Boys owed them seven more albums. Russell Simmons of Def Jam claimed that he was responsible for their success, since he got them on tours and in the movie Krush Groove, and made them credible in the black community. The legal entanglements delayed their second album, Paul's Boutique, until 1989 - three years after their debut.
When the group left Def Jam, the label enlisted Chuck D to create another Beastie Boys album made up of outtakes and other leftover bits. After the group signed with Capitol and released Paul's Boutique, Chuck abandoned the project, since it was clear the group was a serious rap act and not a clownish concoction. Chuck became one of the group's biggest supporters and inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
In the Licensed To Ill era, Mike D wore a Volkswagen medallion on a rope necklace. Many fans made their own, using pilfered emblems from local VWs. The Volkswagen company offered free replacements and spun the trend into some positive marketing, taking out ads with the headline: Designer labels always get ripped off.