Five Non-Album Beastie Boys Tracks You’ve Probably Forgotten About

Beastie Boys: Adam Yauch (MCA), Adam Horowitz (Adrock), Michael Diamond (Mike D). Photo: Terry Richardson

Alongside classic albums such as Paul’s Boutique and Hello Nasty, Beastie Boys also produced several amazing b-sides, EPs, and even a country album. But even after releasing their Anthology compilation, and expanded versions of albums, there are still some left overs worth exploring. Here’s five to check out.

1. Intergalactic (Original)

According to Adam Horowitz, the band started this Intergalactic in 1993 while working on their album Ill Communication, but it was cut because “it was just bad stupid and not even good stupid.” Eventually they would return to the idea while recording Hello Nasty, and Intergalactic was released as the albums first single in 1998.

Later, there were plans for a Beastie Boys CD-Rom in 1995 which would have featured the original Intergalactic. Titled Don’t Mosh in the Ramen Shop, the project was completed in 1996 and even won an award for Best Entertainment Product of the Year, but it was ultimately cancelled due to “copyright complications”.

2. Desperado

I’ve previously written about this in an article on an unreleased Beastie Boys album from their Def Jam era, but it’s one of my all time favourite non-album tracks so I had to list it here.

Desperado contains a sample from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Soundtrack, and became known to fans after it featured in Tougher Than Leather, a movie Def Jam released in 1988 featuring several of their artists, including Beastie Boys. Although it’s performed during one scene in the movie, unfortunately Desperado isn’t on the soundtrack, though a demo was leaked which gives you some idea of what was being worked on.

3. Nothing To Say

Between Ill Communication and Hello Nasty, Beastie Boys dropped an EP of punk tracks called Aglio E Olio in 1995. Regarding the sessions, Micheal Diamond said:

We realized that we had way too many hardcore songs to possibly put on our next album, so we decided to release them all together (almost) as an EP. The whole thing came together fast. We put it out and moved on. If you’re into it, you can check it out, if not, fast forward.

Nothing To Say saw release in 1999, outside of Aglio E Olio (though it’s assumed to be from the same sessions), with the song instead appearing on the charity album MOM 3: Music For Our Mother Ocean. Alongside Nothing To Say the album also featured contributions from Beck, Paul McCartney, Smash Mouth, and a song featuring members of Rage Against The Machine with Snoop Dogg.

4. In A World Gone Mad & This Government Needs A Tune Up

I’ll be honest with you, when In A World Gone Mad came out it wasn’t what I expected. This was the first new Beastie Boys song fans had heard since Alive in 1999 and it was…rough.

The song debuted on the Beastie Boys website in March 2003 alongside statements from the band, such as the following from Micheal Diamond:

Being together, writing and recording, we felt it would be irresponsible not to address whatís going on in the world while the events are still current. It didn’t make sense to us to wait until the entire record was finished to release this song.

While I had mixed feelings at the time, recently I listened to it again and I actually like it. Maybe it’s nostalgia from when I first heard it, but In A World Gone Mad is a pretty good protest song.

This Government Needs A Tune Up is from the same period and was released online around 2004. The story goes that someone found a copy of the song in a rental car and uploaded it online, but who knows with these guys. The song sits well alongside In A World Gone Mad, and would have made an interesting bonus track for their 2004 album To The 5 Burroughs, but weirdly neither song were included in the expanded Deluxe Version released in 2019.

5. Slow & Low

Since there’s two songs in №4, I’m cheating here and №5 is a demo by Run-DMC which Beastie Boys used on their debut album Licensed To Ill.

The original version was written for Run-DMC’s King of Rock album, which was released in 1985. But Slow & Low was left off, and when Adam Yauch found a cassette in Russel Simmons’ desk he made himself a copy as he liked the song so much.

Later while recording their own album, Beastie Boys asked Run-DMC for permission to use the song, changing the lyrics “D sees real well ’cause he has four eyes” to “White Castle fries only comes in one size”, and replacing “Run-DMC” with “Beastie Boys” for “Beastie Boys not Cheech and Chong.” More recently the original demo finally found an official release thanks to the King Of Rock (Expanded Edition) released in 2005.

An Australian writer with a passion for research. In 2020 he published Making Psyence Fiction, a book on the creation of UNKLE’s debut album.

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