John Berry (musician)

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John Berry
Born(1963-05-31)May 31, 1963
New York City, New York (state), U.S.
DiedMay 19, 2016(2016-05-19) (aged 52)
Danvers, Massachusetts, U.S.
GenresHardcore punk
Years active1979–2016
Associated actsBeastie Boys, The Young Aborigines

John Berry (May 31, 1963 – May 19, 2016)[1] was an American hardcore punk musician. He was a founding member of the Beastie Boys, although he left the band in 1982 before they secured any commercial success.[2]

Berry is credited with conceiving the band's name, Beastie Boys, when the members were teenagers.[2][3]


Berry was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts (state)|, on May 31, 1963.[2] After moving to New York City in his teens with his father, Berry attended the Walden School in Manhattan.[3] It was at the Walden School where he met Michael Diamond and the two were founding members of the Young Aborigines, later known as the Beastie Boys. The two other founding members are Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach.

The Beastie Boys were initially a hardcore punk band. Formed at a time where the New York punk scene was witnessing a shift, and Berry was an important part of that transition. Berry played guitar on the band's first release, a seven-inch EP, Polly Wog Stew. He was the first to leave the band, later followed by Schellenbach.

Their first shows were at Berry’s loft on West 100th Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side.[4]

He died May 19, 2016, at a hospice in Danvers, Massachusetts[3] of frontotemporal dementia.[5]


  1. ^ Associated Press. "John Berry, Beastie Boys co-founder, dies at 52". LA Times. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "John Berry, musician – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 2014-05-24. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  3. ^ a b c Grant, Sarah (2014-05-18). "Original Beastie Boys Member John Berry Dead at 52". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  4. ^ Kreps, Daniel (May 20, 2016). "Beastie Boys' Mike D Remembers Original Member John Berry". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  5. ^ Oyebode, Jan (31 May 2016). "Beastie Boy John Berry Died of Frontal Lobe Dementia – But What Is It?". "Elsevier SciTech Connect". Retrieved 7 July 2019.