Jimmy James (song)

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"Jimmy James"
Single by Beastie Boys
from the album Check Your Head
B-side "The Maestro", "Boomin' Granny," "Drinkin' Wine"
Released August 28, 1992
Format 12", CD, Cassette
Recorded G-Son Studios, Atwater Village
Genre Alternative hip hop, rap rock, psychedelic hip hop
Length 3:14 (album version)
3:05 (original/single version)
Label Capitol/Grand Royal
Songwriter(s) Beastie Boys, Mario Caldato Jr.
Producer(s) Beastie Boys, Mario Caldato Jr.
Beastie Boys singles chronology
"So What'cha Want"
"Jimmy James"

"So What'cha Want"
"Jimmy James"
Audio sample

"Jimmy James" is the first song and third single from Beastie Boys' third album Check Your Head. The song has been described as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix by Beastie Boys member MCA, and contains samples from several Hendrix songs including "Foxy Lady", "Happy Birthday", and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming". The song also samples the drum beat from "I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're the Royal Macadamia Nuts)" by The Turtles, as well as a line from Mantronix's 1985 single, "Fresh Is the Word" ("...for all the Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and the White People too").

Song information[edit]

"Jimmy James" originally started out as an instrumental track with scratching done by Yauch (this version of the song appears on the "Jimmy James" EP as the "original original version"). Later on, lyrics were written and the other two Beastie Boys, Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "King Adrock" Horovitz, asked to lend their vocals to the song along with Yauch.

However, Hendrix's family, who own the rights to most of his catalogue, denied the group clearance to use the samples (the group, however, were somehow able to keep the "Happy Birthday" and "Foxy Lady" samples in the song, though). Determined to keep the song on Check Your Head, the group re-recorded "Jimmy James" using samples similar to the Hendrix ones. This version ended up being released as the first track on the album.

A few months after Check Your Head was released, Hendrix's family finally relented and gave the Beastie Boys clearance to use the samples. As a result, the "single version" of "Jimmy James" was released as the third single from Check Your Head, and a music video was made for it which premiered in August 1992.

The original version has since been issued on their compilation album The Sounds of Science. The beginning of the album version of the track is a sample from the live version of "Surrender" by Cheap Trick from their live album Cheap Trick at Budokan.

Music video[edit]

MTV and VH1 credit the "Jimmy James" music video to Nathanial Hörnblowér, Adam Yauch's director alter ego. However, on the Beastie Boys' Sabotage VHS tape released in 1994, the "Jimmy James" music video is listed as being co-directed by Yauch (as Nathanial Hörnblowér) and Lisa Ann Cabasa, an actress, and Yauch's girlfriend at the time the video was made. Cabasa directed the dance sequences in the music video and also appeared in the video as one of the silhouetted female dancers.

Formats and track listing[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The name of the character Jimmy James played by Stephen Root on the television series NewsRadio came from this song.[citation needed]


Beastie Boys
  • Mike D – vocals, producer
  • MCA – vocals, producer
  • Ad-Rock – vocals, producer
  • Mario Caldato, Jr – producer
  • Tom Baker – mastering
Other personnel
  • Eric Haze – artwork



In the UK, the song charted as a part of the EP Frozen Metal Head.

Chart (1992) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 55


  1. ^ "Chart Stats - Beastie Boys". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 

External links[edit]