Before they could walk this way, Run-D.M.C. started with Rock Box

Published January 11

Eighties historian Kevin Wuench returns to honor a Run-D.M.C. tune we've sadly forgotten:

During the holiday season, Run-D.M.C. gets mentioned as Christmas In Hollis is a favorite of '80s Nation, but in other times, the pioneering band from Queens is often ignored as you rarely hear any Run-D.M.C. on variety radio. In fairness, the blog has neglected Run-D.M.C. too as it has taken more than five years for Run-D.M.C. to makes its first appearance on Lost and Found with Rock Box.

Rock Box was the tune used for the band's first video and it starts off with an odd minute opening with a philosophical lecture on the origins of rap music before the boys arrive in style to rock the house. The professor in the video is Irwin Carey who as comedian/actor/activist billed himself as "The World's Foremost Authority." Carey was a regular comedian on '60s late night TV and appeared in some Troma movies in the '80s. He was 70 years old when Rock Box was filmed and lived to be 102 before passing away a year ago.

Rock Box was a minor hit on the dance charts in 1984 but caught the ears of music critics and over the next few years their audience grew and in 1986 their collaboration with Aerosmith provided a Top 10 hit with Walk This Way. Run-D.M.C. would have two other Top 40 hits before consumer tastes started changing from the old school rock riffs to gangsta rap. One of the reasons why we love Run-D.M.C. so much is their message was positive as in Rock Box they rap "we don't drop dimes and don't do crimes."

Run-D.M.C. had pretty much broken up in 2002 when Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) was gunned down in the studio with the assailant still unknown. The other two principals in Run-D.M.C. carry on individually as Joseph "Run" Simmons became a reverend and Darryl "D.M.C" McDaniels is behind the scenes in music and works with foster children.