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How The Music World Rallied Around MCA Before His Death

Covers and honors have been pouring in since Adam Yauch announced his diagnosis in 2009

picture-18831-1332525985Devon Maloney // May 4, 2012

Tributes to Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch have been pouring out over the last few hours since news of his passing spread, from Diplo to Krist Novoselic to Big Boi. But the music industry isn’t just coming together now to honor one of its greats — artists started rallying around Yauch as soon as he confirmed he was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer in 2009.

When the Beasties dropped out of 2009’s All Points Festival, Jay-Z stepped in to fill their headlining slot and Q-Tip and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O honored MCA onstage with positive vibes and song dedications. Coldplay’s Chris Martin even threw together a piano cover of “Fight for Your Right” at the fest. In the months that followed, acts as varied as Switchfoot and Yelawolf covered Beasties songs. And the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the Boys were class of 2012 inductees.

One day before the Rock Hall ceremony last month, the band issued a statement stating Yauch would be unable to attend and the music world took the occasion to reflect on Yauch’s contributions to hip-hop over the past 25 years. ?uestlove discussed how the Roots were taken “under the wing” of the Beastie Boys, who gave them their first big touring break. Kid Rock, the Roots, and Travie McCoy stepped in to perform a tribute in the group’s honor. Here’s a look back at some of those cover performances:


Coldplay’s Chris Martin Plays a Piano Cover of “Fight For Your Right” at All Points West 2009:

Jay-Z, Filling In for Beastie Boys as Headliner, Covers “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” at All Points West 2009

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Dedicate “Maps” to Yauch (Note Karen O’s “Get Well MCA” wristband, in the above close-up) at All Points West 2009:

Kid Rock, Travie McCoy, and the Roots Fill In for the Beastie Boys at the 2012 Rock Hall Induction:

Various Artists Toasting the Beastie Boys at the 2012 Rock Hall Induction: