No Sleep till Brooklyn

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"No Sleep till Brooklyn"
Single by Beastie Boys
from the album Licensed to Ill
B-side"Posse in Effect"
ReleasedMarch 1, 1987
RecordedSpring 1986
Songwriter(s)Rick Rubin, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch
Producer(s)Rick Rubin
Beastie Boys singles chronology
"(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)"
"No Sleep till Brooklyn"
Music video
"No Sleep till Brooklyn" on YouTube

"No Sleep till Brooklyn" is a song by the New York hip hop group the Beastie Boys, and the sixth single from their debut studio album Licensed to Ill. One of their signature songs,[3] it describes an exhaustive tour and all the events that make it tiresome, but also emphasizes their determination not to rest until they reach their home base of Brooklyn.[4] "No Sleep till Brooklyn" was a popular concert favorite for the Beastie Boys and traditionally used as their closing song. Among other references to then-popular metal, the title is a play on the Motörhead album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith.[5]

Production and play[edit]

Kerry King, guitarist for Slayer, played the guitar riffs and solo; Slayer had released an album produced by Rick Rubin in 1986 (Reign in Blood). In a different tuning, the song interprets "TNT" by AC/DC.[6] More metal commentary and adaptation is added by the video, directed by Ric Menello,[7] as a parody of glam metal.[8]

Later in their career, the Beastie Boys continued to perform the song live, although with altered lyrics. "M.C.A.'s in the back because he's skeezin' with a whore," was changed to "M.C.A.'s in the back with the mahjong board",[9] and "Autographed pictures and classy hoes" was changed to "Autographed pictures to nobody knows."[9]

The song features one of many homages to New York City's boroughs, and has been described as "joyful ranting".[10]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "No Sleep till Brooklyn" was co-directed by Ric Menello and Adam Dubin.[11][12] Menello and Dubin also directed the video for the Beastie Boys' preceding single, "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)".[11][12] Kerry King, who plays guitar on this track, also appears in the video. Ruth Collins known as the "Queen of B Movies" of the 1980s is featured as the lead dancer.


The Beastie Boys arrive at a club to perform. A member from the band hands the club owner an LP record but he smashes the phonograph record on them, saying "What the..? We only play rock music here." The Beastie Boys knock again, seconds later, except they are disguised as rockers with big hair and guitars. They take the stage playing the song, but the crowd of women quickly mobs them and tears off their clothes. They rap another verse in their underwear before changing into their regular outfits. The performance is a series of jabs at and parody of glam metal performance videos, with headbanging fans, a backup dancer, and much destruction. Eventually the club owner and his crew try to get them off the stage, but the Beastie Boys are fighting with them. Kerry King makes an appearance during the guitar solo, body checking the gorilla who was originally performing the guitar solo. The band is later seen trying to steal money from the club's safe, which they succeed in doing by MCA bashing it with his head. They dance around with bags of money from the safe, but the hot backup dancer is seen walking away with the gorilla.


Chart (1987) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 28
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[14] 22
Netherlands (GfK Dutch Chart)[15] 23
Germany (Media Control Charts)[16] 46
Ireland Irish Singles Chart[17] 17
UK (Official Charts Company)[18] 14


  1. ^ Tim Grierson. "Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch Has Died". Retrieved July 2, 2013. "As a member of Beastie Boys, Yauch (who recorded under the name MCA) helped pioneer rap-rock with (...) classic tracks like "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn,""
  2. ^ a b Tucker, Ken. "Rough-rapping Beastie Boys Cut A Path From Cult To Chart". Retrieved July 2, 2013. "The Beastie Boys also pepper their music with bits of heavy metal and hard rock - the squalling guitar solo on "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," for example, is provided by Kerry King"
  3. ^ "Readers' Poll: The Best Beastie Boys Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 9, 2012.
  4. ^ Ehrlich, Brenna. "'No Sleep Till Brooklyn': The Story Behind The Anthem". MTV News.
  5. ^ Craig Rosen. "Motorhead Between Rock 'N' Hard Place". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  6. ^ " - Song Spotlight".
  7. ^ Ehrlich, Brenna (August 23, 2013). "'No Sleep Till Brooklyn': The Story Behind The Anthem". MTV. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "No Sleep Till Brooklyn by Beastie Boys". Songfacts. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Beastie Boys - No Sleep Til Brooklyn (8-9-07 - Brooklyn, NY) on YouTube
  10. ^ No sleep'til Brooklyn. M Forman - American Quarterly, 2002 -
  11. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (March 4, 2013). "Beastie Boys Video Director Ric Menello Dead at 60". Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Hogan, Marc (March 5, 2013). "Ric Menello, Beastie Boys Video Director, Dies at 60". Spin Magazine. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  13. ^ "No sleep till Brooklyn in Belgian Chart". Ultratop and Hung Medien. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  14. ^ "No sleep till Brooklyn Dutch Top 40 Chart". Ultratop and Hung Medien. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  15. ^ "No sleep till Brooklyn in GfK Dutch Chart". Ultratop and Hung Medien. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  16. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Beastie Boys / Single". Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  17. ^ "No sleep till Brooklyn in Irish Chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2013. Only one result when searching "No sleep till Brooklyn"
  18. ^ "1987 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 13th June 1987". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 20, 2017.

External links[edit]