A Journal of Musical Things"Three Idiots Create a Masterpiece" - A Journal of Musical Things
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Published on May 10th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

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“Three Idiots Create a Masterpiece”

This was supposedly a headline in a Rolling Stone review of the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill.  With the death of MCA last week, there’s renewed interested in everything the band did, including the original evaluations of their work.

Casey is the one who brought this one to my attention.  Here’s the email:

Have you ever seen this supposed review in your research?

I have the RS Cover-to-Cover set and I can’t find it.

Mike D used the phrase in a 2004 interview with the Miami Herald, but he was talking about Paul’s Boutique.

If all these reporters are repeating some phony BS, would you please publicly shame them for their lack of journalistic skill and/or poor memory?

Can anyone shed light on this?


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



2 Responses to “Three Idiots Create a Masterpiece”

  1. Joe says:

    Try the 20th Anniversary 1987 Rolling Stone Issue #498. It appears to have an article on Beastie Boys and even though it was months after their release of Licensed to Ill it may have been the first time anyone took notice.

  2. Casey says:

    RS 498 contains an article about the Beastie Boys on tour called "Rude Boys."

    Mike D. refers to the boys as "three idiots" but this is not a review and it's not in a headline.

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