29 Years Later, Beastie Boys' 'Licensed to Ill' Sells 10 Million Copies

Just shy of its 30th anniversary, the legendary trio's debut is certified diamond by the RIAA

The Beastie Boys in 1986. Credit: Glenn A. Baker/UPPA/ZUMAPRESS.com

Beastie Boys' legendary debut album Licensed to Ill has reached diamond status, nearly 30 years after its release. The RIAA's database notes that as of March 4th, the LP has earned the certification, bestowed upon albums that sell 10 million copies.

Def Jam released Licensed to Ill on November 15th, 1986. Produced by the label's co-founder Rick Rubin, the hip-hop trio's debut is stocked with some of the group's biggest and most memorable hits, including "Fight For Your Right," "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" and "Paul Revere." It was certified platinum in February 1987.

Ill became one of the first successful hip-hop albums, and the Beastie Boys found continued success through the early millennium, selling over 40 million copies of their LPs. the group released their final release, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, in 2011. 

Following the death of Adam "MCA" Yauch in 2012, surviving members Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz made clear that they would not continue with the group. Ad-Rock recently spoke with Rolling Stone about life following the loss of Yauch and disbandment of his group. "It's a big challenge. It's like, 'What do you do with your life when your former life is no more?' I have to figure it out. I don't know if I ever will."

Horovitz also revealed to RS that he and Diamond have no plans to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Licensed to Ill. "Twenty-five should've been a bigger deal, but I didn't even notice," he noted. "Thirty is a bland anniversary. Maybe the 50th."

The surviving members have been working on a memoir, originally slated to be released in 2015. "There's not way it's going to happen [before 2017]," he admitted. "I might get sued by saying this, but I'm just being realistic."