Born in 1966, Adam Horovitz, also known as "Ad-Rock," was a member of the Beastie Boys with Mike D. and the late Adam Yauch, also known as "MCA." The band released its first album, License to Ill, in 1986, and quickly became rap-rock superstars. Several popular albums followed, including Hello Nasty (1998) and To the 5 Boroughs (2004). The Beastie Boys ended their run following the death of Yauch in 2012.
A member of the Beastie Boys' rap-rock trio, Adam Horovitz, also known as "Ad-Rock," was born on October 10, 1966 in South Orange, New Jersey. His father, Israel Horovitz, is an actor, director and writer, while his mother, Doris O'Keefe, is a painter. Along with fellow Beastie Boys Mike D. and band founder Adam Yauch, also known as "MCA," the group pioneered the rap-rock genre, and helped open doors for a number of other white hip-hop artists.
Horovitz was in a band called The Young and the Useless when Yauch, a friend from Horovitz's childhood, launched what would become the Beastie Boys in 1981. At the time, the group was a hardcore quartet, more punk than rap. After the band's guitarist bolted, Yauch asked Horovitz, also a guitar player, to join him. In 1983, the band cut its first 12-inch single, "Cooky Puss." The song, which got its name after a popular Carvel ice cream novelty cake called "Cookie Puss," showcased the group's irreverent sense of humor.
Following the departure of the band's fourth member, Kate Schellenbach, the revised trio transformed themselves into a full-fledged rap group, with its three members all serving as MCs. Early performances included a then-unknown New York University student, Rick Rubin, who spun records for the Beastie Boys years before the world knew him as a renowned record producer.
Following the launch of the Def Jam label by Rubin and Russell Simmons, and the subsequent signing of the Beastie Boys, the young group released a second 12-inch single, "Rock Hard," in 1984. The following year, the Beastie Boys went on tour with pop star Madonna. The pairing proved to be a terrible mismatch for Madonna fans, who booed the loud and rowdy rappers. However, the group rebounded the following year, with the release of its full-length album Licensed to Ill (1986).
Anchored by the hit single, "Fight for Your Right (to Party)"—a 1980s party-rock anthem—as well as several other popular singles, including "She's Crafty," "Paul Revere" and "Girls," License to Ill offered up a powerful sound that uniquely married the rock and rap worlds. It became the first rap album to climb to the top of the charts, and in the United States alone, more than 9 million copies of the album were sold.
Beyond their seemingly endless obsession with partying and girls, Horovitz and the Beastie Boys showed an ability to evolve as musicians. After splitting from Def Jam, the group released Paul's Boutique in 1989, a landmark album that drew comparisons to the work of the Beach Boys and Pink Floyd.
The 1990s saw Horovitz and his bandmates become one of music's most enduring groups. In 1994, they returned to the top of the charts with the album Ill Communication, which contained such hits as "Sure Shot" and "Sabotage." The Beastie Boys followed it up with 1998's Hello Nasty and then, in 2004, offered up a tribute to their hometown with To the 5 Boroughs.
Sadly, the group's run came to an end with the death of Yauch, following a battle with cancer, on May 4, 2012.
In addition to his career as a member of the Beastie Boys, Horovitz has appeared in several films, including Lost Angels (1989) and Roadside Prophets (1992). He's also worked on a number of experimental music projects as a member of the BS2000 project.
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