In the fall of 1987, after fulfilling the Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill tour obligations, Adam Yauch formed a band with friends Tom Cushman, Dougie Beans (Murphy's Law), and Daryl Jenifer (Bad Brains). Named after the "homeland," the band Brooklyn recorded a collection of demos at the Hit Factory in New York City and Yauch's Brooklyn apartment. Although the demos were distributed to a number of labels that expressed interest, the band was never signed and the songs were never commercially released. In the late 90s, the demos fell into the hands of a trader, who made them public to the fan community.
The demos, commonly referred to as the Brooklyn Sessions, are sought after by Beastie Boys fans for one particular song in the collection. It was during the Brooklyn Sessions that Yauch developed and first recorded the famous bass line in "Gratitude."
In The Sounds of Science anthology book, Yauch described the song's origins:
The bass line was something that I had made up early on as I was learning to play the bass, maybe around 1980. I think it grew out of a pedal that I'd acquired called a "Super Fuzz," and the tone of the box begged the line.By request, download and listen to Brooklyn's version of "Gratitude":
In late '87, in the aftermath of Licensed to Ill, we [Beastie Boys] decided to take a little break. I bought a Fostex reel-to-reel 8-track and started writing songs with a friend named Tom Cushman. Tom reminded me about the old bass line. I found the Super Fuzz, and we wrote a song around it. The song was called "Gratitude." That version was over an 808 drum machine and had me singing on it...
A second version of the song, which was circulated as an incomplete file in the collection for reasons unknown, offers a slightly different sound:
Gratitude (Version 2.0) [mp3]
If anyone's interested in the complete demo collection, holla at me and I'll post it -- although I must warn that the quality of the recording is dubious in spots.
A good source for other Beastie Boys-related oddities and rarities is the Beastie Boys Hub at jtcann.serveftp.com:1090 (Direct Connect software required).