Beastie Boys Book

Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5,581 ratings)

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Listen in as Ad-Rock and Mike D talk to Audible editors Courtney Reimer and Kat Johnson about how so many great celebrity voices help make the Beastie Boys Book audio pretty fantastic.

I'm just saying, if someone else came out with this book, I would love it.--Adam Horovitz

  • Beastie Boys Book
  • I'm just saying, if someone else came out with this book, I would love it.--Adam Horovitz

Publisher's Summary

Number One New York Times Best Seller 

A panoramic experience that tells the story of Beastie Boys, a book as unique as the band itself - by band members ADROCK and Mike D, with contributions from Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Wes Anderson, Luc Sante, and more. 

The inspiration for the Spike Jonze "live documentary" Beastie Boys Story, coming soon to IMAX theaters and Apple TV+

Named One of The Best Books of the Year by Rolling StoneThe GuardianPaste 

Formed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip hop superstardom. Here is their story, told for the first time in the words of the band. Adam "ADROCK" Horovitz and Michael "Mike D" Diamond offer revealing and very funny accounts of their transition from teenage punks to budding rappers; their early collaboration with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin; the debut album that became the first hip hop record ever to hit number one, Licensed to Ill - and the album's messy fallout as the band broke with Def Jam; their move to Los Angeles and rebirth with the genre-defying masterpiece Paul's Boutique; their evolution as musicians and social activists over the course of the classic albums Check Your Head, Ill Communication, and Hello Nasty and the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits conceived by the late Adam "MCA" Yauch; and more. For more than 30 years, this band has had an inescapable and indelible influence on popular culture. 

With a style as distinctive and eclectic as a Beastie Boys album, Beastie Boys Book upends the typical music memoir, featuring a collection of voices reminiscent of your favorite mixtape. 

Photo Credit © 1987 Lynn Goldsmith

Audiobook Cast Includes:

Steve Buscemi / Ada Calhoun / Bobby Cannavale / Exene Cervenka Roy Choi / Jarvis Cocker / Elvis Costello / Chuck D / Nadia Dajani Michael Diamond / Snoop Dogg / Will Ferrell / Crosby Fitzgerald Randy Gardner / Kim Gordon / Josh Hamilton / Adam Horovitz LL Cool J / Spike Jonze / Pat Kiernan / Talib Kweli / Dave Macklovitch Rachel Maddow / Tim Meadows / Bette Midler/ Mix Master Mike Nas / Yoshimi O / Rosie Perez / Amy Poehler / Kelly Reichardt John C. Reilly / Ian Rogers / Maya Rudolph / Rev Run Luc Sante / Kate Schellenbach / MC Serch / Chloe Sevigny Jon Stewart / Ben Stiller / Wanda Sykes / Jeff Tweedy / Philippe Zdar

Praise for Beastie Boys Book

"A fascinating, generous book with portraits and detail that float by in bursts of color.... As with [the band’s] records, the book's structure is a lyrical three-man weave.... Diamond's voice is lapidary, droll. Horovitz comes on like a borscht belt comedian, but beneath that he is urgent, incredulous, kind of vulnerable.... Friendship is the book's subject as much as music, fame and New York." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Wild, moving...resembles a Beastie Boys LP in its wild variety of styles." (Rolling Stone)

©2018 Michael Diamond (P)2018 Random House Audio

Featured Article: Tune In to Our 26 Favorite Music Memoirs


We’ve had our ears out for stories that follow our *other* favorite thing to listen to: music. By turns bold, brash, and moving, these listens shed light on the sold-out shows, backstage drama, and sometimes dark underbelly of the recording industry, while highlighting the charisma, creative energy, and pure artistry that had us hooked from the very first soundwave.

Editorial Review

They were ill, but they got better

Beastie Boys Book comes at a surprisingly appropriate moment in American culture. All around us, we’re being encouraged to turn a self-critical eye to the way the actions of our youth affected others. The Beastie Boys, original hardcore party animals, started doing this over 20 years ago. They included "long overdue" lyrics about respecting women on 1994’s Ill Communication and wrote an open letter to Time Out New York magazine apologizing for the misogyny and homophobia of their early records in 1999. How in the world did they go from cringeworthy party anthems like Girls to Song for the Man, with lyrics that directly address guys who ogle women in public? I can’t wait to listen to this one to hear it for myself, as reported by the surviving band members and the cast of crazy characters they’ve surrounded themselves with throughout the years. —Scott J., Audible Editor

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

License to Listen - The Illest Communication

So...

I have been an Audible member since 2007. I have NEVER reviewed a recording before. I HAD to write a review for this.

I am not some major Beastie fan although they are certainly a favorite of mine, but then, I grew up with them. I'm 48 and African-American. I got into hip-hop around the time that they did. I was invested in the same styles, fads, allusions/references that they were. Heck, I even became a Vajrayana Buddhist around the time MCA did.

From a generational standpoint, they were essential; vital. They were the brothers or cousins you had that influenced you while occasionally, you were ahead of them. They grew as you grew and evolved as you did. Then, you have children and you only speak once in a while (by listening to a record here or there) but you KNOW that you wouldn't have been the same without them.

Being black in America is fraught with many things; one of the least talked about and in some ways, most damaging, is that you're never REALLY sure that you are LIKED. Y'know, whether that person 'just put up with you', that the micro-aggression masks the macro-agitation.

The Beastie Boys LOVED black culture; and that means that they LOVED black people. Not is some fetishized way, but were early progenitors of cross-cultural exchange.

You know what it means to know FOR CERTAIN that a powerful, influential group finds a style, a slang, A WAY OF BEING that comes from your diaspora, IMPORTANT?

The Beastie Boys were one of the most creative forces in the then nascent world of hip-hop. They were and are simply GREAT. This book, full of stories read by great folks like Chuck D, Rachel Maddow, Ben Stiller etc., is a testimony to their far-reaching and important hip-hop/ musical/cultural ambassadorship.

I miss MCA. Probably monthly. More than other acts that I possibly love as much (Bowie, Prince). Sometimes, you just know you'd have gotten along with somebody...

This recording is simply wonderful. Laugh out loud funny, pensive, whimsical, wise - I could go on. If you've read this far, you know that I'm saying that you should pick this up. If you're Generation X, it is a must-buy. If you want a slice of life from the 80s on, it is insightful.

One of the best recordings I have ever heard. (I mentioned that I am an O.G. Audible listener, right?!)

Thanks to the authors, the vocals from the wide array of talent and for Audible for giving us such a gift in a time when thoughts of gratitude, cultural appreciation, honesty and growth are in such short supply.

Rest in Peace my Dharma brother MCA. And thanks, FOR ALL OF IT, Mike D and Adam.

163 people found this helpful

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One of the best audiobooks I've ever listened too

I could be described as a casual fan, not a huge fan of the Beastie Boys. This was a fantastic audiobook. The cast of readers from the surviving members and former band mates was great, , and frankly the story of their lives in general to this very day was interesting.

17 people found this helpful

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I cried

It’s true. I cried multiple times listening to this book. Both happy and sad tears. This book is utterly amazing. If you call yourself a B Boys fan and don’t listen to this book???
B Boys fan pass revoked!

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • JG
  • 11-05-18

A Love Letter to Adam Yauch

This book is a must for any fan. It reads like a love letter to Adam Yauch, which I love.. but it's also filled with great stories and process. The readings gave me chills multiple times. By the end, everyone will wish they were cool enough to have noticed the gift that was their last album. They did something only they could do, just as they did with this audiobook.

21 people found this helpful

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amazing!

a delight in every way imaginable. so much to take in, for fans of everything punk, hip hop, NYC and everything in between.

8 people found this helpful

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This books makes me so happy and a little sad...

This book is amazing. I love the book's format with not only the authors reading their thoughts and experiences, but also narrators who impacted them or were impacted by them. I had no idea the connections between the Beastie Boys and other artists, which answered so many questions I had regarding my personal music preferences. It's incredible to learn about the huge range of artists who impacted their work and/or were used in their songs.

The book is incredibly funny. As a fan, I think I subconsciously knew they were really funny, but this book proves it. Learning about the impact Beatie Boys had in the early computer/internet days and how their music was used to influence what today we take for granted (e.g., music and information about that music at our fingertips) was so interesting.

Tip: After beginning this book I quickly started keeping Spotify open while listening to the book so I could flip back and forth to hear the music mentioned in the book. It's not just their music but other artists. A fun musical journey...

RIP MCA

5 people found this helpful

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I waited my entire life for this book!

Awesome listen, with some tasty bits of background on songs and the early club life in NYC. Thanks Beastie Boys. RIP Adam Yauch. I'm gonna go make a mix tape now.

3 people found this helpful

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I think I would prefer the physical copy

The content of the book was different than what I expected but still great. My criticism is only related to the audio version. I wish this book had come with an accompanying PDF so I could reference the images that were provided in the physical copy. While I think the concept of having various celebrities read certain chapters, I found it distracting when they read chapters that they did not write. Somewhere in the last third or so of the book, the chapters titles became misaligned with the audio. I don’t know if that was an error with only my copy, but it was pretty confusing to be listening to a chapter that was listed as a different chapter’s title.

2 people found this helpful

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B boys!!!

Best audiobook I’ve ever listened to. I laughed out loud so many times! Great narrators and an amazing story. Run don’t walk to download this book!

2 people found this helpful

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Aw Yeah...

Just like the McDLT, Beasties keeping the hot side hot, and the cool side cool."

8 people found this helpful