a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics


Music/Lyrics: Beastie Boys

Vocals: Trey (lead), All (backing)

Original Artist: Beastie Boys

Original Album: Ill Communication (1994)

Albums: Hampton Comes Alive

Debut: 1998-08-08

Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)

Last Update: 2011-09-12

The 1994 release of “Sabotage” returned the Beastie Boys to the exalted throne of top-40 super-stardom they first occupied in 1986 with their frat house anthem (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!). The Beasties’ hard rocking free-style – which grew out of their hard-core punk roots and is exemplified by “Sabotage” – made it possible for the likes of Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock to have careers today.

Unlike these latter-day pretenders to the Grand Royal crown, the Beastie Boys have displayed a vision and inventiveness in their musical efforts that are largely unparalleled in the world of hip-hop and rap. Eschewing the hit-making formula they perfected on Licensed to Ill, they spent several years of relative musical obscurity exploring jazz, funk, soul and Tibetan Buddhism before returning to their instruments to produce Check Your Head and Ill Communication. Though it received a great deal of radio airplay, “Sabotage” is perhaps best known for its hilarious music video spoof of Starsky and Hutch-type ‘70s cop shows.

Beastie Boys, “Sabotage”

Phish performances of “Sabotage,” featuring the strained rap stylings of Trey Anastasio, have been explosive surprises that served to whip the mellow undulations of the typical Phish crowd into a riotous frenzy. The debut performance on 8/8/98 was one of several unexpected cover song encores played during the U.S. summer tour. The high-octane “Sabotage” returned eight days later to open the final set of Lemonwheel (8/16/98), evoking a crowd scene in front of the stage which observers have likened to those for certain performers at Woodstock ‘99. The final version of “Sabotage” (11/21/98), though not quite as rabid as the Lemonwheel performance, once again ignited the delighted crowd to open the final set of a two night run at the Hampton Coliseum. After being all but given up for dead, "Sabotage" made its triumphant return (after a 318 show absence) as the encore of the "S"-themed show on 9/2/11. In a show littered with "S" song bustouts, Phish saved the most shocking for last.

”Sabotage” 9/2/11 Commerce City, CO

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