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Pass the Mic

Adam Yauch, founding member of the Beastie Boys rap/rock group, passed away yesterday aged 47. He leaves behind a wife and daughter. Also left behind are a plethora of mourning fans and devotees. Along with Yauch, a piece of our modern pop culture has died.

To tell the truth, I was not a Beastie Boys fan. I didn't dislike them, per se, just never got into most of their music. So it goes. Of course, it's hard to be a child of the '80s and avoid their influence. The Beastie Boys are icons of that era, and have earned much respect. Just last month, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by LL Cool J and Chuck D. Yauch was too ill to attend the ceremony.

The group is closely intertwined with a memory from childhood. It was a 5th grade field trip to visit the historic sites in Springfield. As we rode the yellow school bus the hour or so to the capitol city, a classmate named Brett regaled us with this new-fangled thing called a Walkman. Inside of it was the cassette tape of the Beastie Boys' 1986 album License to Ill. The Walkman, with its awesome little tunes playing through the headphones, was passed around and sampled by almost all of us. We would briefly jam to tracks like No Sleep Till Brooklyn, Girls, (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party), and Brass Monkey.

Yellow school buses, field trips and Walkmans are a part of my life left behind some years ago. They represent the past. But Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys were still here, a living connection to that past. Now, Yauch joins the field trips and Walkmans.


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