Joseph "Run" Simmons (b. 11.24.66), MC Darryl McDaniels (b. 5.31.64) and Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell (b. 1.21.65) are all natives of Hollis, NY, a middle-class suburb of New York City. After graduating from St. Pascal's Catholic School, the trio form Run-D.M.C. and are managed by Run's older brother Russell, who has established Rush Productions. (Russell has already made a name for himself as manager of the Harlem-born artist Kurtis Blow.) Turned down by a number of major labels, the group finally signs with Profile Records, which release their single, "It's Like That/Sucker M.C.'s" in April of 1983. By the end of the 1980s, Run-D.M.C. will have carried hip hop into the mainstream.
Their debut album, Run-D.M.C., is released. It will peak at US#53, remain on the chart for a year, and become the first rap album to be certified gold by the R.I.A.A. (in December 1984).
The group sets out on their first tour, accompanied by L.L. Cool J.
Their second album, King of Rock, is released. It will climb to US#52 and will be certified platinum in February 1987.
Run-D.M.C. appears in Krush Groove, the first ever rap movie. It's based on the life story of Russell Simmons, who is now chairman of the new Def Jam Records label (founded by Rick Rubin).
The group participates in the Artist Against Apartheid song Sun City, and the accompanying video.
Along with the likes of Whitney Houston, E; DeBarge, Teena Marie, Stephanie Mills, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow and the Fat Boys, Run-D.M.C. contribute to King Holiday, a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. The record climbs to #30 on the R&B chart.
During a short promo tour in Europe, the group signs a promotional deal with training shoe manufacturer Adidas. Their third album, Raising Hell, becomes the first rap album to top the R&B chart. A riot between rival gangs breaks out during a concert at Long Beach, CA on the 17th, leading other venues to cancel the group's appearance.
Raising Hell peaks at US#3, becoming the first rap album to enter the Top 10. It will eventually sell three million units, and will also peak at UK#42. Meanwhile, the collaboration of Run-D.M.C. with Aerosmith on a new version of "Walk This Way" soars to US#4, providing the group with its first real crossover hit. Run-D.M.C. becomes the first rap group to appear on Saturday Night Live.
The group embarks on a mini-tour of Britain as "Walk This Way" makes it to UK#4.
Run-D.M.C. contributes to the album Rap's Greatest Hits, which peaks at US#114.
"You Be Illin'" reaches US#29. (It will peak at UK#16 in May 1987). The group holds street seminars in Los Angeles, urging kids to stay away from gangs and drugs. Barry White sometimes participates.
Run-D.M.C. begins work on a self-produced feature film entitled Tougher Than Leather.
The group wins Best Rap Single and Best Rap Album at the 1st Annual Soul Train Music Awards in Santa Monica, CA.
The group performs at the Montreaux (Switzerland) Pop Festival along with the Rick Rubin-produced Beastie Boys.
The group performs "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith at the 4th Annual MTV Music Video Awards in Universal City, CA.
Run-D.M.C. contributes a track to the seasonal compilation album, A Very Special Christmas, which reaches US#20.
A dispute with their record label settled, the group releases Tougher Than Leather, which will peak at US#9. Within a month, the RIAA will certify the album platinum. The film by the same name bombs in theaters. Run-D.M.C. has signed a ten-album deal with Profile Records.
The group headlines a major American tour that also features DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince and Public Enemy.
Run-D.M.C. performs "Ghostbusters" on the Ghostbusters II soundtrack, which climbs to US#14.
Run-D.M.C. (Profile, 1984)
Hollis Crew (Krush Groove 2)
Sucker M.C.'s (Krush Groove 1)
It's Like That
"[C]ontains all their early hits and is an utterly essential record, and not just for rap fans."
"Most Rap's just a beat and a boast, but Run and D.M.C., a pair of New York rappers, let the beat run wild and turn the boasts into messages that self-improvement is the only ticket out."
Debby Miller, Rolling Stone (429)
King of Rock (Profile, 1985)
Rock The House
King Of Rock
You Talk Too Much
Roots, Rap, Reggae
Can You Rock It Like This
It's Not Funny
Daryll And Joe (Krush Groove 3)
"[A] superb synthesis of of funk and HM . . . Hip hop is not dead."
New Musical Express
"King of Rock takes some chances -- like a reggae/rock blend -- while repeating the functional formula of "Rock Box" on the title track, which simply inverts the riff and recasts the rap."
Raising Hell (Profile, 1986)
Walk This Way
Is It Live
Hit It Run
You Be Illin'
Son Of Byford
Proud To Be Black
"I don't like Rum-D.M.C....I don't like their clenched-fist egotism....But their sound slams me up against the wall, kicks my teeth in and leaves me demanding more."
"An aggressive, sexist, abusive and extremely loud LP."
Tougher Than Leather (Profile, 1988)
They Call Us Run D.M.C.
Beats To The Rhyme
Tougher Than Leather
I'm Not Going Out Like That
How'd Ya Do It Dee
Soul To Rock And Roll
"Way ahead of the competition."
"Run-D.M.C. are simply thrashing around with clumsy obesity. This album is as soft as their stomachs."
"The Ramones of rap, playing with the limits, seeing how far they can go."
New Musical Express
"Run" Simmons studied mortuary science at LaGuardia Community College. He also DJ'd for Kurtis Blow in the early '80s, and was billed as "DJ Run Love."
In 1991, Simmons was indicted by a Cleveland, OH grand jury for allegedly raping a woman in a hotel room. He pled innocent and was released on $10,000 bond. His trial opened in February 1992 -- and lasted one day; the charges were dropped when the complainant refused to testify. (She later admitted her allegations were false.)
In 1993, the group's seventh album, Down With the King, soared to US#7 in its first week.
As an ordained minister of the Zoe Ministries Church in Manhattan, Simmons was known as "Reverend Run."
Run D.M.C. became the first rap group to win a Grammy, and also the first to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Run-D.M.C. was the only rap group to perform at Live Aid.