Along with Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Groove Armada, The Propellerheads and The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers introduced the world to an influential dance oriented “Big Beat” music driven by heavy breakbeats in the early 1990s. The duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons called themselves “The Dust Brothers” after the influential U.S. producers of early Beastie Boy records. Once they began to become famous with their own records, they were forced to change their name to The Chemical Brothers after their early hit “Chemical Beats.” In the mid-1990s they released an album called “Exit Planet Dust” referencing the name change. They were asked by mega-fan Noel Gallagher of Oasis to work on a track together that became the U.K. #1 single “Setting Sun” landing them at the forefront of the British music scene. Which brings us to the 1997 album “Dig Your Own Hole” and its lead single “Block Rockin’ Beats” that broke them in America. It is not only a landmark dance record, but it is also one of the greatest albums for a workout in the gym. By the end of the 1990s, the Brothers were headlining the Glastonbury Festival in England. They still tour, produce other artists and release records today.
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “She’s Crafty” by Beastie Boys
From their not-so-humble beginnings as a truly awful Hard Core band who I had the privilege to see as an opening act at Big Audio Dynamite’s first U.S. show at a club called “The World” in New York City in 1984…to the juvenile hardy partyers who opened for Madonna on her “Virgin” tour the following year riding on an inflatable penis…to the Brooklyn Dust masters who came into their own with Paul’s Boutique in 1989 and followed with iconic Spike Jonze-directed videos in in 1994…to the elder statesmen of Hip Hop today…the Beasties managed to invent and reinvent Rap and Hip Hop in their own image many times over.
Today’s Song Of The Day by Eric Berman comes from The Beasties The Beasties (Michael Diamond/”Mike D. ,” Adam Yauch/”MCA” & Adam Horovitz/”King Ad Rock”) debut Def Jam album License To Ill which was produced by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons.
It’s a record that could not exist today because of the prohibitive cost of samples by the likes of Led Zeppelin on this tune and The Beatles’ song “The End” on which they sampled for the song “The Sounds Of Science” from this record’s follow up. Such were the early days of hip-hop.
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Eye Know” by De La Soul
With samples from Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and Steely Dan’s “Peg,” De La Soul unleashed this bouillabaisse of good times onto a hip-hop public in 1989 with today’s Song Of the Day by Eric Berman. The 3 Feet High And Rising album is one of two stone-cold sample-delic masterpieces that came out that year along with The Beastie Boys’ classic Paul’s Boutique, and they both sound as fresh today as they did when they were newly minted.
I was fortunate enough to see them perform shortly after the album’s release during the New Music Seminar in New York City opening for none other than George Clinton and the P-Funk All-stars. Not only was it a very late evening of music with the funksters doing their usual for then four hour set, but it was very memorable even after all these years.
If you’ve never heard the album…it is surely your loss…