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Original Beastie Boys Member John Berry Dead at 52

Rat Cage Records
Rat Cage Records

John Berry, founding member of the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 52. He passed away early Thursday (May 19) morning in Danvers, Mass. His father John Berry III said his son suffered from increasingly worse frontal lobe dementia.

He’s said to have come up with the name of the group back when they were all teenagers. He would go on to play on the group’s 1982 debut EP Polly Wog Stew before leaving the group soon after. Kate Schellenbach, another formative member of the group a year before, followed him out, and they were both replaced by Ad-Rock.

Berry would go on to be a member of other bands like Bourbon Deluxe, Highway Stars, Big Fat Love, and Even Worse.

Beastie Boys were a seminal group in hip-hop, the first white crew to make a splash, and on Def Jam, no less. Most people remember Licensed to Ill as their debut album, but they were experimenting with punk and rap sounds for years before.

Rest in peace to John Berry. XXL sends condolences to his family and friends.

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