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The Skills to Pay the Bills: The Story of the Beastie Boys Paperback – January 24, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609604783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609604786
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New York rock-rappers the Beastie Boys have seized a remarkable place in music history, as world-famous pop stars, as white MCs and as one of the influential first wave of groups that broke hip-hop, albeit their own special brand of it, into the mainstream charts in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, the group's importance is what makes this shallow, topical effort from former Rolling Stone writer Light so disappointing. For all the great music and groundbreaking pop culture history made by these three Jewish kids (Adam Yauch, Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond), Light's oral history, supposedly based on many years of the author's own interviews, frustratingly boils down more than two decades' worth of innovation and originality into less than 200 pages of quotations. That's not to say that the book doesn't have some decent information. Light manages to squeeze in both major and minor players in the Beasties' empire, from mega-producer Rick Rubin to Madonna, and he hits all the major beats of the Beasties' careers, as rappers, recording artists and budding impresarios. Still, this is little more than an expanded magazine article. Although at times entertaining, given Light's insider perch, the book is regrettably an unworthy history. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

White Jewish kids from secure backgrounds who conquered the rap and pop charts (their album License to Ill was the first hip-hop album to top the pop charts) and purveyors of vulgar, often hilarious lyrics who actively support liberal political and social causes, the Beastie Boys are now rap and rock elder statesmen. In such anthems as "Fightfor Your Right (to Party)," they incorporated heavy-metal riffs and samples in the format pioneered by Run-DMC to reach the vast suburban-white-kid audience in previously unimaginable ways. They are as responsible for hip-hop's hold on the pop charts and pop culture as Run-DMC. Light's notably well written presentation of their story explores the Beasties phenomenon with wit and purpose far too rarely manifested in the rock-bio genre. In incidents ranging from their almost accidental introduction to the recording industry to collaborating with reggae god Lee "Scratch" Perry to support for the Dalai Lama (they were instrumental in organizing a benefit concert for Tibet), the Beasties' story is an engrossing, important chapter of pop-music history. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Plaia on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I really looked forward to reading this book, figuring that someone with as much access as Alan Light would give me more of an insiders look into a great band. But he remains on the outside like the rest of us, instead relying on first hand accounts of the band members themselves as well as many others in or around hip-hop. At first it's kind of cool to get some of the early stories about the punk scene in NYC, which really branched out from the hardcore D.C. bands like Bad Brains. You just never really get to be in the studio, or at the writing sessions, or on the tour bus. It's more fitting for liner notes. Let's tackle this subject head on and get some good stories in a collection. These guys are legends, and have toured and recorded with and around some of the core players in hip-hop history. I found this book to be a shallow take on a complex and genre bending crew. Disappointing.
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By Christina J. Reinwald on September 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok...so...I have loved the Beastie Boys FOREVER!!! As an adult that still loves the Beastie Boys, and I am also a huge Alan Light fan, I couldn't wait to read this book. I felt as though I was watching a documentary about them! If you're a Beastie fan, I highly recommend reading "Skills To Pay The Bills". You will not regret a minute of it. You will love it as much as I did!
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By AceFreely on February 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fun easy read. A fan of the Beasties will enjoy this very much. This book is a quick read, perfect for the ride on the train or with yiur toes in the sand.
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By Amazon Customer on December 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been looking for a reasonably priced copy for a couple of years. Its a quick, but interesting read that most fans would enjoy.
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