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Monday, August 5, would have been the 49th birthday of beloved father, artist, hip-hop pioneer, wordsmith, philanthropist and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, aka MCA, whose death to cancer in May of 2012 was a devastating hit to the music community.
In celebration of MCA’s life, legacy and role in one of music history’s greatest three-man groups, we’ve put together a list of our Top 5 Favorite Rock Trios:
MCA made up one third of the group along with fellow Beasties Adam “Adrock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond, who were known for their loud, rebellious and aggressive sound, and such essential hits as “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)” “Brass Monkey,” “Hey Ladies,” “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn,” “Body Movin’,” “So What’Cha Want, and “Sabotage.”
From the 1980s to the 2000s, the trio went from being widely criticized to being elder statesmen in hip-hop and alt-rock. While friends may come and go, much like MCA did last year, the Beastie Boys' catalog of music is everlasting.
Check out their live performance of “Sabotage” at the MTV Music Awards in ’94, below:
For 40 years now, Canadian rock-trio Rush has relied on its epic, sci-fi lyrics ultra-complex musical stylings to produce such signature fan favorites as “Tom Sawyer,” “2112” “YYZ” and “Spirit of Radio.”
With Geddy Lee on vocals and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitar and Neil Peart on drums, Rush earned its spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just this year, which was vindication for their loyal fanbase after years of being snubbed by music critics. Check out these “high priests of conceptual metal”—as described by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett—in this 2011 video of Rush jamming on “Tom Sawyer”:
Cali-based rock trio Green Day has been on the map since they revived the genre of punk and gave it a facelift with their debut of Dookie in 1994 and infiltrated the music realm with catchy and rebellious anthems like “Basket Case,” “When I Come Around,” and “Welcome to Paradise.”
Over the past decade, members Billie Joe Armstrong (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Dirnt (bass) and Tré Cool (drums) have reinvented Green Day’s sound and message, while providing key political and cultural commentary on the appropriately-named albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown.
While it has been a pleasure watching the band mature over the years, it is always fun to wax nostalgic on their former days of mischief. With that, we present to you Green Day performing one of their ‘90s songs, “Longview”:
In 1991, Nirvana’s debut album Nevermind spoke to an entire disenfranchised generation. With gritty and dark tracks such as, “Come As You Are,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Lithium,” this magnum opus from Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl bucked rock’s trend toward the gross excesses of hair metal and spurred the ascendency of the bare-bones grunge rock movement.
Just three years later, the group disbanded following with the tragic death of Cobain, whose passing elicited a strong response from fans and the music community. Here is an unplugged Nirvana performing one of lyrical gems, “The Man Who Sold the World”:
Known for their mastery of blues-rock, bedazzled cowboy hats, long beards, and frequent circulation on MTV in the ‘80s, ZZ Top is no doubt one of the most famous rock trios of our time.
During the height of their success, band members Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill put together one of the largest grossing rock tours of their time and released such timeless hits as “Tush,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Gimme All Your Lovin” and “Legs.”
Check out this video of Gibbons and company playing “Tush” at the Crossroads Festival in 2004:
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