Beastie Boys’ founding guitarist John Berry dead at 52 after dementia battle

Original Beastie Boys guitarist John Berry has died in a hospice in Massachusetts aged 52. He had been suffering from frontal lobe dementia. His father, John Berry III, confirmed the news to US magazine Rolling Stone, saying his condition had worsened in recent weeks. he musician was one of the founding members of The Young Aborigines, the first incarnation of the band in 1978 before they changed their name to the Beastie Boys. A message on rock band Luscious Jackson’s Facebook page said the band was “heartbroken hearing the news” of Berry’s death.

He was a good friend and rabble rouser and if it wasn’t for him, there’d be no Beasties, no Luscious Jackson, no Grand Royal and god knows what else.

Tribute on Luscious Jackson’s Facebook page

The band’s first shows took place at Berry’s old loft apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He left the band in 1982 before they switched from punk to rap and was replaced by Adam Horovitz. The group went on to worldwide fame, producing four chart-topping albums and selling more than 40 million records, and was credited with helping to bring hip-hop to the mainstream. In 1986 they topped the charts with their debut album, Licensed To Ill, which included the anthem (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!). Fellow band member Adam Yauch, known as MCA, died from cancer in 2012 aged 47.

Those dudes started something bigger than music. Rap, rock and musicianship all in one. A new genre.

One Twitter user’s tribute