|Single by Beastie Boys|
|from the album Ill Communication|
|Released||January 28, 1994|
|Genre||Rapcore, hardcore punk|
|Label||Grand Royal Records|
|Producer||Beastie Boys, Mario Caldato, Jr.|
|Beastie Boys singles chronology|
The song's style is characterized as rapcore, featuring traditional rock instrumentation (Ad-Rock on guitar, MCA on bass, and Mike D on drums), turntable scratches and heavily distorted bass guitar riffs. A moderate commercial success, the song was notable as well for its video, directed by Spike Jonze and nominated in five categories at the 1994 MTV Music Video Awards.
In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Sabotage" #480 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at #46 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and was ranked #19 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s list. Pitchfork Media included the song at #39 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s list.
The song's music video, directed by Spike Jonze and played extensively on MTV, is an homage to, and parody of, 1970s crime drama television series such as Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, S.W.A.T., Baretta, and Starsky and Hutch. The video is presented as the opening credits of a fictional 1970s-style police show called Sabotage, with the band members appearing as the show characters. Each band member is introduced as a fictional actor, and the names of the characters are also given.
The characters appearing on the show are (in order of credits):
- Sir Stewart Wallace guest-starring as himself (played by MCA)
- Nathan Wind as Cochese (also played by MCA)
- Vic Colfari as Bobby, "The Rookie" (played by Ad-Rock)
- Alasondro Alegré as "The Chief" (played by Mike D)
- Fred Kelly as Bunny (played by DJ Hurricane)
Some scenes had to be removed when the video was shown on MTV, including a knife-fight sequence, a falling-off-a-bridge scene, as well as a scene in which a man is thrown out of a car into a street. In addition, the Beastie Boys Video Anthology featured a mock interview of the "cast" of Sabotage conducted by Jonze's then-wife Sofia Coppola. A more recent version, the uncut version, can be found on Vevo.
1994 MTV Video Music Awards
The video for "Sabotage" was nominated for Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction in a Video, and Viewer's Choice at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. However, it lost all five categories it was nominated in, losing Video of the Year, Best Group Video and Viewer's Choice to Aerosmith's "Cryin'", and Breakthrough Video and Best Direction in a Video to R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts".
During R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe's acceptance speech for the Best Direction award, Beastie Boys member MCA bum-rushed the stage in his "Nathaniel Hornblower" disguise, interrupting Stipe to protest the shutout of "Sabotage" from every category it was nominated in.
In popular culture
During Saturday Night Live's 25th Anniversary Special in 1999, the band played the first fifteen seconds of the song before their performance was "sabotaged" by Elvis Costello, who in 1977 had done the same to one of his own songs on the show; the Beastie Boys then accompanied him on "Radio, Radio", the song performed during the original incident.
The song was used prominently in the J.J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek film, played on the radio by an adolescent James T. Kirk, and is included in the tracklist for the videogame Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
|Canadian RPM Singles Chart||38|
|Dutch Singles Chart||35|
|UK Singles Chart||19|
|U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles||15|
|U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||18|
- "500 Greatest Songs of All Time: Beastie Boys, 'Sabotage'". rollingstone.com. 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
- "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 50-21". Pitchfork Media. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
- Smith, Ethan (2012). "Spike Jonze Unmasked". New York (magazine). Retrieved 31 August 2012.
- DVD commentary. Trainspotting.[clarification needed]
- "The Playlist: Spike Jonze Wins Belated VMA For Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage'". theplaylist.blogspot.co.uk. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
- Elvis Costello and Beastie Boys- Radio, Radio - YouTube
- "Beastie Boys Top Singles positions". RPM. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
- "Beastie Boys Album & Song Chart History". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
- "Beastie Boys Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2011-05-10.