Yes! My hits per day has taken a sharp increase recently. Don’t know why, as I’m blogging far less than I used to, but thanks a million to you. And you. And you. And you. And…
Sadaharu Oh was a baseball player for the Yomiuri Giants in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan. He hit a world record 868 home runs in his career. “And I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh” is a line from ‘Hey Ladies’ from the Beastie Boys ‘Pauls Boutique’ album.
Following the success of their globe straddling Licensed To Ill album with its Rick Rubin-produced juvenile rhymes on top of sample after sample of Jimmy Page and John Bonham, the Beastie Boys took themselves to LA and began working in self-imposed exile. With fresh money on their pocket, New York was too full of temptations. They relocated with the Dust Brothers in tow and worked on the demos that would become Paul’s Boutique. Given that it was a commercial disaster, the album was considered something of a failure and EMI quickly stopped promoting it. Yet, the album’s popularity grew and grew quietly. Music fans like me who wouldn’t consider listening to rap suddenly latched onto the facts that the album was constructed from a vast range of rock samples and references. Nowadays, Paul’s Boutique is considered the hippest thing in the Beastie Boys canon of work. Although I prefer Check Your Head.
With 105 wholly uncredited samples, Paul’s Boutique is on a par with De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising for imagination, inventiveness and downright blatant stealing (I’ve already mentioned De La Soul’s Magnum Opus here) Familiar bits of records jump out at you. James Brown yelps and huhs all over it, hard-to-place bits of Pink Floyd fade in and out, Sly Stone bass lines and drum parts feature regularly, Johnny Cash sings about killing a man in Reno just to watch him die (though not on the demo, as you’ll hear); the album is a trainspotters delight, choc-full of musical refernce points. Even those sacred cows The Beatles get the Beasties treatment. Their late-period catalogue is ransacked and reassembled as ‘The Sounds of Science’. The Back In The USSR jet sound, the crowd noise from the start of the Sgt Peppers album, the Sgt Peppers drums, the oboe and bassline from the start of When I’m 64, the drum track from Abbey Road‘s ‘The End’, the orchestra tuning up at the start of Sgt Peppers, it goes on and on and on and on, all the while the 3 Beastie Boys rapping about Isaac Newton, Galilleo, Muhammed Ali’s ‘Rope A Dope’ boxing technique (which consisted of giving your opponent the opposite of what you lead him to believe he is about to receive) and anything else that comes into their way-too-clever brains….
Now here we go dropping science dropping it all over
Like bumping around the town like when you’re driving a Range Rover
Expanding the horizons and expanding the parameters
Expanding the rhymes of sucker M.C. amateurs
Naugels, Isaac Newton Scientific E.Z.
Ben Franklin with the kite getting over with the key
Rock shocking the mic as many times times the times tables
Rock well to tell dispel all of the old fables
I’ve been dropping the new science and kicking the new knowledge
An M.C. to a degree that you can’t get in college
The dregs of the earth and the eggs that I eat
I’ve got pegs through my hands and one through my feet
Shea Stadium the radium E M D squared
Got kicked out of the Palladium you think that I cared
It’s the sound of science
Public service announcement time and money for girls covered with honey
You lie and aspire to be as cunning
Reeling and rockin’ and rollin’ B size D cup
Order the quarter deluxe why don’t you wake up
My mind is kinda flowin like an oil projector
Had to get up to get the Jimmy protector
Went berserk and worked and exploded
She woke up in the morning and her face was coated
Buddy you study the man on the mic
D. do what you like
Drunk a skunk am I from the celebration
To peep that freak unique penetration
I figured out who makes the crack
It’s the suckers with the badges and the blue jackets
A professor of science cause I keep droppin’ it
I smell weed ’cause ya’ll keep packin’ it
People always asking what’s the phenomenon
Yo what’s up know what’s going on
No one really knows what I’m talking about
Yeah that’s right my name’s Yauch
Ponce De Leon constantly on
The fountain of youth not Robotron
Peace is a word I’ve heard before
So move and move and move upon the dance floor
I’m gonna die gonna die one day
Cause I’m goin and goin and goin this way
Not like a roach or a piece of toast
I’m going out first class not going out coach
Rock my Adidas never rock Fila
*I do not sniff the coke I only smoke sinsemilla*
With my nose I knows and with my scopes I scope
What I live I write and that is strictly rope
I’ve got science for any occasion
Postulating theorems formulating equations
Cheech wizard in a snow blizzard
Eating chicken gizzards with a girl named Lizzy
Dropping science like when Galileo dropped his orange
Clever stuff, huh, although a bit of googling won’t go amiss while you read the above. Here‘s the original LA demo of The Sounds Of Science’.
Here’s some more demos..
Johnny Ryall demo #2 Samples Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney drums, Jean Knight’s Mr Big Stuff and a whole host of stuff I can’t quite place. Elvis, Bob Dylan and Donald Trump are all mentioned in the lyrics.
Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun demo Samples the big piano chord from Pink Floyd’s ‘Time‘, nicks the drums from Ocean’s ‘Put Your Hand In The Hand‘ and some Incredible Bongo Band bongos. The lyrics feature references to Bruce Willis, A Clockwork Orange and Son Of Sam.
Shake Your Rump demo Samples (if you listen carefully and quickly) Led Zeppelin’s Good Times Bad Times drums, lots of Rose Royce’s Carwash (the looped wah wah guitar), some Bob Marley’s ‘Could You Be Loved’ and a million other unheard-by-these-ears 70s funk nuggets. The lyrics make reference to Kangol hats, Fred Flintstone and Pigpen from The Grateful Dead. Nothing if not eclectic.
Egg Man demo liberally steals from Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Superfly‘. Lyrics make reference to Dr Seuss, Cheech and Chong, Cadbury’s Cream Eggs and Public Enemy’s You’re Gonna Get Yours.
Paul’s Boutique has undergone something of a critical reappraisal since it’s initial release. This year saw the release of the 20th Anniversary Edition. Sadly EMI chose not to feature any of the demos that are widely available on t’internet. More fool them. Until they do, enjoy the demos you’ve found here.
There’s a fantastic series of books, the 33 1/3 series, where classic albums are untangled and dissected and their mysteries revealed. Paul’s Boutique has been given this treatment not once, but twice – as a standard book and as an audio book. You can download the audio book free (and legally) here. Whatchawaitinfor?