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Production Credits:

High Plains Drifter Click for Lyrics

First Appearance: Paul's Boutique LP 1989
Written by: Beastie Boys & Dust Brothers
Performed by: Beastie Boys
Production Notes: Produced by Beastie Boys & Dust Brothers. Recorded at Mario G's, mixed at Record Plant. Engineered by Mario Caldato, assisted by Allen Abrahamson. Originally released on Capitol Records.

Behind the Beats and Lyrics...


  • "Those Shoes" by the Eagles from the album The Long Run (1979)
  • "Your Mama Don't Dance" by Loggins and Messina from the album Loggins and Messina (1972)
  • "Suzy Is a Headbanger" by the Ramones from the album Leave Home (1977)
  • "Put Your Love (In My Tender Care)" by The Fatback Band from the album Raising Hell (1974)


  • High Plains Drifter - a 1973 western film, starring Clint Eastwood
  • 8-track - a magnetic tape cartridge, popular in the 1970's
  • Kool - a brand of menthol cigarettes
  • Travis Bickle - a character in the 1976 Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver, portrayed by Robert DeNiro
  • Motel 6 - an American motel chain
  • Black & Tan - a mixture of Guinness Stout and Bass Ale
  • K-Mart - an American discount store chain
  • 7-11 - an American convenience store chain
  • Jello - a popular gelatin dessert
  • Steve McQueen (1930-1980) - a television and film actor known for his roles as a cool loner
  • Ballantine quarts - ale
  • Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry - a 1974 cult film starring Peter Fonda
  • Dirty Harry - a 1971 violent action film starring Clint Eastwood
  • DT - abbreviation for "detective"
  • Gran Fury - Plymouth Fury automobile
  • Drunk called Otis - drunkard from the television show The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
  • Nix Check Cashing - a small chain of check cashing locations in Long Beach, California
  • Harry Houdini (1874-1926) - a world-famous magician
  • OTB - acronym for "off track betting"

Sample & Reference Breakdown

  • Bassline sample is from "Those Shoes" by the Eagles
  • Moan - a sample from "Put Your Love in My Tender Care" by The Fatback Band
  • "Fear and loathing across the country listening to my 8-track" - refers to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, a book by Hunter S. Thompson
  • "Check my rearview mirror, check the gold tooth display" - lyrics are similar to those in "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide" by ZZ Top ("With my New York brim and my gold tooth displayed, nobody give me trouble 'cause they know I got it made")
  • "Ballantine quarts with the puzzle in the cap" - Ballantine beer caps have little picture puzzles that spell out phrases
  • "Outta the car, longhair!" - a sample from "Your Momma Don't Dance" by Loggins and Messina
  • "Makin' like a DT driving a Gran Fury" - DT is short for "detective," and the Plymouth Gran Fury automobile was the car of choice for many police departments in the 1970's
  • "Suzy is a headbanger" - a sample from "Suzy Is a Headbanger" by the Ramones


Beastie Boys

"I read this review where the guy said that we still only use the same drugs and violence themes. I don't understand why people think [this song] is about us. We just get together and write stories." - Mike Diamond, August 1989


Released Versions:

High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter (Instrumental)
High Plains Drifter (Live)
High Plains Drifter (Single Loop Version)


Performed in 33 known Concerts.

First known Performance:
17-May-1992 : Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States

Last known Performance:
19-Jan-2009 : 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, United States

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