The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
A Decade in the Life
of
Run-D.M.C.

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.


June 1983
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).
July 1983
The group sets out on their first tour, accompanied by L.L. Cool J.
February 1985
Their second album, King of Rock, is released. It will climb to US#52 and will be certified platinum in February 1987.
May 1985
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).
November 1985
The group participates in the Artist Against Apartheid song Sun City, and the accompanying video.
January 1986
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.
August 1986
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.
September 1986
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.
October 1986
The group embarks on a mini-tour of Britain as "Walk This Way" makes it to UK#4.
November 1986
Run-D.M.C. contributes to the album Rap's Greatest Hits, which peaks at US#114.
December 1986
"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.
January 1987
Run-D.M.C. begins work on a self-produced feature film entitled Tougher Than Leather.
March 1987
The group wins Best Rap Single and Best Rap Album at the 1st Annual Soul Train Music Awards in Santa Monica, CA.
April 1987
The group performs at the Montreaux (Switzerland) Pop Festival along with the Rick Rubin-produced Beastie Boys.
September 1987
The group performs "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith at the 4th Annual MTV Music Video Awards in Universal City, CA.
December 1987
Run-D.M.C. contributes a track to the seasonal compilation album, A Very Special Christmas, which reaches US#20.
June 1988
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.
July 1988
The group headlines a major American tour that also features DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince and Public Enemy.
September 1989
Run-D.M.C. performs "Ghostbusters" on the Ghostbusters II soundtrack, which climbs to US#14.


Run-D.M.C. (Profile, 1984)
Hard Times
Rock Box
Jam-Master Jay
Hollis Crew (Krush Groove 2)
Sucker M.C.'s (Krush Groove 1)
It's Like That
Wake Up
30 Days
Jay's Game

"[C]ontains all their early hits and is an utterly essential record, and not just for rap fans."
Trouser Press.

"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
Jam-Master Jammin'
Roots, Rap, Reggae
Can You Rock It Like This
You're Blind
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."
Trouser Press

Raising Hell (Profile, 1986)
Peter Piper
It's Tricky
My Adidas
Walk This Way
Is It Live
Perfection
Hit It Run
Raising Hell
You Be Illin'
Dumb Girl
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."
Record Mirror

"An aggressive, sexist, abusive and extremely loud LP."
Smash Hits

Tougher Than Leather (Profile, 1988)
Run's House
Mary, Mary
They Call Us Run D.M.C.
Beats To The Rhyme
Radio Station
Papa Crazy
Tougher Than Leather
I'm Not Going Out Like That
How'd Ya Do It Dee
Miss Elaine
Soul To Rock And Roll
Ragtime

"Way ahead of the competition."
Record Mirror

"Run-D.M.C. are simply thrashing around with clumsy obesity. This album is as soft as their stomachs."
Melody Maker

"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.