One of Beastie boys‘the most popular rarities are “Benny and the Jets”, a cover of Elton John’s song with the rapper Biz Markie on hilarious and out of tune voices. The song – released on the 1999 compilation Beastie Boys Anthology: Sounds of Science – is a classic showcase for Markie, the best known rapper for 1989’s “Just a Friend”, who deceased Friday at 57.
Their loose, corrected version of the 1973 John tune developed through a relaxed classic rock jam, as Markie explained to Charleston City Paper in 2015.
Listen to “Benny and the Jets” by Beasties Boys and Biz Markie
“What happened was that I and the Beastie Boys and the Boo-Yaa tribe were all playing basketball at the Beastie Boys studio, and after I finished playing basketball, one of their boys, [Money] Mark got down to the piano and they just started playing rock songs, “he said.” And I sang all the rock songs, and they didn’t care. I was singing like [sings], ‘Jeremiah was a Bullfrog’ and sing all those records, right? So people didn’t care, and they broke ‘Bennie and the Jets’, and I sang it. “
They have also performed the reprise on stage over the years, including a 1998 take at Madison Square Garden in New York City and a 2009 version at the Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina
Markie and Beastie Boys had another classic rock-related collaboration: “The Biz vs. the Nuge,” a 33-second interlude that appeared on the latter group’s 1992 LP, Check your head. The track finds Markie singing a Beasties scream on the guitar and drums intro to Ted Nugent’s 1977 song “Home Bound”.
Listen to “The Biz vs. the Nuge” by Beastie Boys and Biz Markie
“We stopped by my house for a while to go through the files,” Beasties member Michael “Mike D” Diamond wrote in the group Sounds of science accompanying book. “After going through the Billy Joel, Paul Simon and James Brown sections, the Biz released a copy of Ted Nugent Cat scratch fever album, and said, ‘Yo, could we bring this to the studio? I have something to do with this joint. After arriving at G-Son, The Biz asked if there was a candy store near the studio. A bag of candy was brought across the street. Then he put on the Nugent record, and two takes later, it was done. The Biz then spent the remainder of the evening making a mix tape for their flight back to New York, featuring singles from Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Helen Reddy. “
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