The Beastie Boys tribute to Elvis Costello

The Beastie Boys tribute to Elvis Costello

What happened when Elvis Costello played "Radio, Radio" on SNL?

In the late 1970s, Elvis Costello was a rising star in the music industry. Known for his unique blend of punk and new wave, Costello was invited to perform on Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1977. However, his rebellious nature and refusal to conform to the show's expectations led to a controversial moment that would go down in SNL history.

Yauch & Diamond & Horovitz (Beastie Boys) Shirt

Why was Elvis Costello banned from SNL?

During the rehearsal for his SNL appearance, Costello had planned to perform his hit song "Less Than Zero." However, at the last minute, he decided to make a bold statement. Instead of playing the agreed-upon song, Costello and his band launched into "Radio, Radio," a politically charged and critical song about the control of the media.

This unexpected deviation from the script did not sit well with the SNL producers and network executives. They were concerned about the controversial nature of the song and feared backlash from advertisers. As a result, Costello was banned from ever appearing on SNL again.

The Beastie Boys' tribute to Elvis Costello

Decades later, in 1999, the Beastie Boys were scheduled to perform on SNL. They decided to pay homage to Costello's banned performance in a clever and unexpected way. As the show began, the Beastie Boys started playing the opening riff of their hit song "Sabotage," fooling the audience into thinking that was their intended performance.

However, just as the tension built up, Elvis Costello stormed the stage, grabbing the microphone from the Beastie Boys. The crowd erupted in excitement as Costello and the Beastie Boys broke out into a powerful rendition of "Radio, Radio." It was a moment of pure rock 'n' roll rebellion and a fitting tribute to Costello's banned performance.

A legendary SNL moment

The collaboration between Elvis Costello and the Beastie Boys on SNL remains one of the most memorable moments in the show's history. It showcased the power of music to challenge the status quo and defy expectations. Costello's bold act of rebellion and the Beastie Boys' tribute demonstrated the enduring impact of artists who are unafraid to push boundaries.

Even though Elvis Costello was banned from SNL for his controversial performance, his legacy as a musical icon and a voice of dissent continues to inspire generations of artists. And thanks to the Beastie Boys' homage, the spirit of "Radio, Radio" lives on, reminding us of the power of music to provoke thought and ignite change.

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