Most of the time, the Beastie Boys' celebrated music videos had little or nothing to do with the songs they were promoting. And that made them a zillion times better than any performance clip from other artists who came of age during music video's heyday. And even when they played it straight, it was old-school authentic. Still, their best videos are the ones that go over the top with robots, heroics and funky-fresh facial hair.
Spurting blood, fancy wigs, helicopter shootouts, epic crash crashes and daring parachute jumps all figure into this clip, which does for '60s spy movies what 'Sabotage' does for '70s cop shows.
After the mega-success of 'License to Ill,' it took the Beasties three years and a lawsuit to make their follow-up masterpiece, 'Paul's Boutique.' This was the album's first taste.
The late Adam Yauch -- as Nathaniel Hornblower, which is a way cooler pseudonym than MCA -- directed this colorful, playful video, which looks like a funky version of 'Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot.'
A sorta sequel to the '(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)' video, 'No Sleep Till Brooklyn' -- also from the debut album -- takes the boys onstage, costumed and rocking out.
In this clip for the old-school cut from 'Ill Communication,' the Beasties revisit their roots, with B-boys, graffiti artists and basic microphone-and-turntable trading of riffs and rhymes.
Directed by pal Spike Jonze, the first video from 'Ill Communication' sends up '70s cop shows with fast cars, bad fashion, not-so-agile stunts and awesome facial hair. Their best and funniest.
Trippy, artsy and surreal in a trippy, artsy kinda way, the animated clip for 'Shadrach' brings the 'Paul's Boutique' song to life. It's like a living, breathing painting complete with its own excellent soundtrack.
The Beasties' third album, 'Check Your Head,' pulled back on the sample overload of 'Paul's Boutique' by incorporating some live-band performances in the mix. The super-hard 'So What'cha Want' works best.
It takes more than two minutes for the music to kick in on this video. But once it does, it's among the most live and energetic the Beasties have ever been. The 'Hello Nasty' track spells it out.
'(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)'
The one that started it all -- bratty, funny, obnoxious and spilling over with the sort of middle-finger defiance the Beasties brought to their music. Even with later bigger budgets, this clip captures their essence.