Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The Beastie Boys and British Airways

True or false: the Beastie Boys got a big boost early in their career as the result of a lawsuit involving British Airways. The answer is “maybe.”

Back in the summer of 1983, the Beasties released one of their very first singles, something called “Cookie Puss.” It was a minor hit, selling a few copies around New York and getting some airplay mostly on college stations across the continent. But then they heard that British Airways used a sample from the song in one of their commercials.

No one had asked permission, so the Beasties sued. And they won. Legend is that the settlement was for $40,000–a good chunk of change for a band just starting out.

But did it really happen? Or was this just some elaborate story invented by the band? That, apparently, is still up for debate.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37441 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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