Fight for Your Right

Beastie Boys

(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)‘ was the first single released from the Beastie Boys’ breakthrough album, Licensed to Ill (1986). Ironically, the song, written by band friend Tom ‘Tommy Triphammer’ Cushman (who appears in the video), was intended as a parody of party and attitude songs, such as ‘Smokin’ In the Boys Room’ and ‘I Wanna Rock.’ However, the irony was lost on most listeners.

Mike D commented that, ‘The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different. There were tons of guys singing along to ‘Fight for Your Right’ who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them.’

Despite its success, the Beastie Boys have expressed distaste for the song, and the group has not performed it live since 1987. Many elements of the music video for “Fight for Your Right” appear to be influenced by George A. Romero’s zombie horror movie ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ in which a biker gang infiltrates a shopping mall and attacks the zombies with (amongst other things) sledgehammers and pies-in-the-face. There are also numerous cameos in this video, including an unknown at the time Tabitha Soren, Def Jam label mate LL Cool J, as well as the Beastie Boys producer, Rick Rubin.

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