The photography of Glen E. Friedman is legendary among Beastie Boys fans. He was
introduced to the Beastie Boys by mutual friend and "Moppy Scud" Arabella Field before the band recorded
the Pollywog Stew EP, which Field shot the back cover portrait for. Several years later, Friedman
shot a now legendary photo session with the Beastie Boys over several days while they were on their first
trip to Los Angeles opening for Madonna on her "Like A Virgin" tour. Two years later, Friedman was also
there to photograph the band during the wild days of Licensed to
Ill, shooting their first cover for SPIN magazine, some of the Beastie Boys posters, the "No
Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" 12-inch single cover, and the Check Your
Head cover photo. He also shot the cover for the "Intergalactic" single.
Back in the golden years of Def Jam (1984-1987), Friedman shot most of the label's
album covers. The Def Jam 10th Anniversary liner notes said it best: "Glen E. Friedman, a photographer
friend of Russell's who came to New York after documenting the hardcore punk and skateboard scenes...shot
the cover photos for nearly all of the first Def Jam albums and the publicity photos as well." Perhaps if
the "airplane image" of David Gambale had not been used on Licensed to Ill, a Friedman photo might
have graced the cover.
In addition to the Check Your Head cover, Friedman is also responsible for
several photographic images found inside the Beastie Boys
Anthology: Sounds of Science liner notes. The 1992 "Skills to Pay the Bills" video cover and
the various posters that followed were all credited to Friedman.
If you are a fan of Friedman's work, you may want to pick up one of his six books,
three of which include classic Beastie Boys photographs (Fuck You Heroes, Fuck You Too, and The
Idealist). The best way to order them is directly through his website at BurningFlags.com.