Going For A Song – ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)

Beastie Boys (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)

I mentioned in last week’s blog post Doug Cowie writing about Twisted Sister. It got me thinking of the moment when I first became aware of a different sound, of having, as Doug nicely put it, “my mind blown open by something new”. For me it was seeing the Beastie Boys’ video for ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)’ on Top Of The Pops.

My older sister had been in the audience for the recording of an episode. We were either looking to spot her by watching a video we’d taped of the show, or we were watching the night of the broadcast. (I researched when this would be and I think it must have been 1987, making me seven-years-old, which oddly enough, is the same age Doug was when he heard Twisted Sister. I didn’t become a massive Beastie Boys fan after this; I was
just 7, you know; a bit too young. The next time I really recall being aware of
the Beastie Boys was 1994 when they released ‘Sabotage’, and my friend Chris, who lived next door, bought Ill Communication.

Of that album I remember feeling slightly disappointed that ‘Sabotage’ and ‘Sure Shot’ weren’t repeated twelve times.) It was, I’m sure, a combination of the video and the music for ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)’ which made it so exciting that evening. But additionally a big part of the excitement I felt was due to the reaction of those around me. They really didn’t like the Beastie Boys or the song. This disparity between what I felt and they felt was – though probably not able to be articulated by my seven-year-old self at the time – a moment my interest in music was piqued; a very early indication to me as to what music might be able to do given half a chance; and I think this is why the memory of seeing that video, hearing that song, is so vivid to me now.

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