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Man Who Came Up With the Name for the Beastie Boys — and Who Left the Band Before They Hit It Big — Dead at 52

May 20, 2016  •  Post A Comment

A founding member of the Beastie Boys, who is credited with naming the band but left the group before it became successful, has died.

John Berry, who was the guitarist in the original hardcore punk incarnation of the band when it was known as the Young Aborigines, reportedly died Thursday at a hospice in Danvers, Mass., from frontal lobe dementia. He was 52.

Berry appeared on an early Beastie Boys release, the punk EP “Polly Wog Stew.” It wasn’t until after Berry left the group in 1982 that the Beastie Boys transitioned to hip hop. The band hit it big in 1986 with its debut album, “Licensed to Ill,” which included the huge hit “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!).”

Berry reportedly went on to perform in several bands, including Highway Stars, Bourbon Deluxe and Big Fat Love.

Here’s an audio recording of the “Polly Wog Stew” EP from 1982 …

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