Beastie Boys Blazed Billboard Chart History
B eastie Boys' Billboard chart history is as eclectic as the group itself.
The trio's (Mike Diamond, Adam Horovitz and the late Adam Yauch) "Licensed to Ill" album made history in 1987 as the first rap album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The blockbuster set reached the top on March 7, 1987 and spent seven straight weeks at No. 1.
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The album spun off two Billboard Hot 100 hit singles, the No. 7 smash "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" and the No. 48-peaking "Brass Monkey." Other tracks from that monumental set also saturated radio, such as "Fight's" B-side "Paul Revere," "Hold It Now, Hit It," "It's the New Style" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."
"Licensed to Ill" was a monster seller, spending 73 weeks on the Billboard 200 and selling nine million copies in the U.S. according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
The act continued to release successful albums all the way through last year, with the bow of "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two," which debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. All told, the group claimed six top 10 albums, with four of those reaching No. 1. After "Licensed to Ill" claimed the pole position, they returned with the chart-toppers "Ill Communication" (1994), "Hello Nasty" (1998) and "To the 5 Boroughs" (2004).
Since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991, Beastie Boys have sold 20 million albums -- making them the biggest-selling rap group in that span of time. In the so-called SoundScan-era, "Licensed to Ill" has sold 5.5 million in the U.S. Since the firm began tabulating digital sales in 2003, the Beastie Boys have moved 5.9 million song downloads. Unsurprisingly, their biggest selling download is "Fight For Your Right," with 746,000 sold.
After the breakthrough with "Fight For Your Right," Beastie Boys would occasionally return to the Hot 100 chart later in their career, but found success on many genre charts. Throughout its career, the band placed hits on the Pop Songs, Alternative, Rap, Mainstream Rock, Dance/Club Play Songs and R&B/Hip-Hop charts.
On the Alternative tally, the group hit No. 1 once, with 2004's "Ch-Check It Out" from the "To the 5 Boroughs" album. Over on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, they tallied top 40 hits with "It's the New Style" (No. 22 in 1986) and "Paul Revere" (No. 34 in 1987). And on the Dance/Club Songs chart, they managed a total of four hits, going as high as No. 15 with the funky "Hey Ladies" in 1989. "Ladies" was also a No. 10 Rap hit for the act in 1989.
Beastie Boys' Top Five Billboard Hot 100 Hits:
Rank - Title - (Year) - Hot 100 Peak Position
1. "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" - 1987 - No. 7
2. "Intergalactic" - 1998 - No. 28
3. "Hey Ladies" - 1989 - No. 36
4. "Brass Monkey" - 1987 - No. 48
5. "Ch-Check It Out" - 2004 - No. 68
Beastie Boys' top Hot 100 hits ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.