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Production Credits:

I'm Down Click for Lyrics

First Appearance: not commercially released
Written by: Beastie Boys
Performed by: Beastie Boys
Production Notes: Produced by Rick Rubin, co-produced by Beastie Boys

Behind the Beats and Lyrics...

Samples

  • "I'm Down" by the Beatles from the single "Help!/I'm Down" (1965)

References

  • Brooklyn - a borough of New York City
  • Bronx - borough of New York City
  • Queens - borough of New York City
  • Manhattan - a borough of New York City
  • Gucci - luxury brand of fashion clothing and accessories
  • Fila - a manufacturer of sports apparel and equipment
  • Steve Ett - head engineer on the Beastie Boys' 1986 album Licensed to Ill

Sample & Reference Breakdown

  • "How can you laugh?" - a sample from "I'm Down" by the Beatles
  • "Lookin' at my Gucci" - identical to the lyrics in "Gucci Time" by Schoolly D ("Lookin' at my Gucci, it's about that time")

Commentary:

Beastie Boys

"Michael [Jackson, who owned the rights to "I'm Down" by the Beatles] said something to Quincy Jones to the effect of, 'I hate the record, and I hate them'; so it doesn't look too hopeful" - Michael Diamond, 1987

"There have been a couple of songs that we haven't been able to put out, and a couple of radio spots we made that haven't been aired, things like that. But I gotta say this - if I ever see Michael Jackson, I'm gonna light his Jeri curls on fire. I'm gonna sneak up on him with a can of lighter and go to work. I think if they had a 3-D movie in Disneyworld of Adrock punching Michael Jackson's face, they'd get a good draw." - Michael Diamond in East Coast Rocker, January 21, 1987

"Who does he think he is? I could understand it if Paul McCartney said no, because it's his song, but Michael Jackson! I guess everybody should wear that stupid-ass glove." - Michael Diamond in East Coast Rocker, January 21, 1987

"I just don't know what makes him (Michael Jackson) think that he can decide what the rest of the world can hear. He's on this whole campaign, like he's holier than thou. I don't think he really knows what the fuck is going on in the world." - Michael Diamond in East Coast Rocker, January 21, 1987

Press

"Michael Jackson, who owns the Beatles' catalog, refused to grant [Beasties Boys] permission to include their surf-guitar/doo-wop version of 'I'm Down' on [Licensed to Ill]" - Creem, May 1987

"After a long pause, he (Michael Diamond) responds to a question about Michael Jackson, who as owner of the publishing rights to the Beatles' songs , refused the Beasties permission to put their own customized version of the Fab Four's 'I'm Down' on their album. 'What would I do if I met him?' Mike D says. 'I'd unplug his oxygen tent, rip off his surgical mask and spit in his face.'" - Los Angeles Times, February 1, 1987

"Beastie Boys are openly annoyed at [Michael] Jackson, who recently filed a cease and desist order against Los Angeles radio station LROQ for playing the Beasties' unreleased rendition of the Fab Four's 'I'm Down.' Jackson had earlier refused to allow the Beasties to include that version on Licensed to Ill." - Playboy, 1987

 

Interesting Footnote:

Due to the Beastie Boys and Def Jam's legal disputes over contractual obligations and Beastie Boys subsequent move over to Capital Records, Def Jam manager Russell Simmons intended to follow up Paul's Boutique with his own record of the Boys' vocal outtakes applied to new music; it was to be called Whitehouse. This album was never released commercially although demos of these tracks do exist and have turned up on several bootlegs like Original Ill on Blue Moon Records.

 

Released Versions:

I'm Down (Demo)

Live:

No Known Performances in Concert.

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