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Production Credits:

Car Thief Click for Lyrics

First Appearance: Paul's Boutique LP, July 1989
Written by: Beastie Boys & Dust Brothers
Performed by: Beastie Boys
Production Notes: Produced by Beastie Boys & Dust Brothers. Recorded at Mario G's, mixed at Record Plant. Engineered by Mario Caldato, assisted by Allen Abrahamson. Originally released on Capitol Records.

Behind the Beats and Lyrics...


  • "Rien Ne Va Plus" by Funk Factory from the album Funk Factory (1975)
  • "I Bet You" by Funkadelic from the album Funkadelic (1970)
  • "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan from the album The Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968)


  • Bingo - a form of lotto in which balls or slips are drawn at random and players cover the corresponding numbers printed on their cards
  • Lotto - lottery
  • Cheeba - slang for "marijuana"
  • Body and Soul - a 1956 book by Derwyn Owen
  • Belly in the Beast - a 1981 book by prisoner/writer Jack Henry Abbott
  • Russ Rush - Russell "Rush" Simmons, Beastie Boys former manager
  • Godfather of Soul - James Brown
  • St. Anthony's Feast - an annual celebration of Italian foods, religious services, festivities, parades, games and live music, held in Little Italy in Manhattan
  • Space cake cookies - hash cakes
  • "Hurdy Gurdy Man" - a 1968 song by Donovan
  • Kool - a brand of menthol cigarettes
  • Ricky Powell - Beastie Boys friend and photographer
  • Mookie - Mookie Wilson, head of security on the Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill tour

Sample & Reference Breakdown

  • Beats are sampled from "Rien Ne Va Plus" by Funk Factory
  • "Godfather of Soul is in the Belly of the Beast" - refers to James Brown being in prison
  • Beats after "dusted old bummy Hurdy Gurdy Man" - a sample from "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan


Beastie Boys

"This is one of my favorite Dust Brothers productions." - Mike Diamond on Paul's Boutique-20th Anniversary Edition audio commentary, 2009


"Written after the Dust Brothers had purchased their first sampler, 'Car Thief' makes liberal use of the 1975 cut 'Rien Ne Va Plus,' the standout composition of the Polish-American fusion band Funk Factory. That tune's samples were sped up and a guitar lick from Funkadelic's 1970 freak-out 'I Bet You' was grafted to the bridges, creating a simple but effective piece of work." - excerpted from the 33 1/3 Series book Paul's Boutique by Dan LeRoy, 2006


Released Versions:

Car Thief
Car Thief (Acapella)
Car Thief (Demo #2)
Car Thief (Demo)
Car Thief (DJBC Remix)
Car Thief (Instrumental)
Car Thief (Live)


Performed in 11 known Concerts.

First known Performance:
13-Feb-1992 : I-Beam Club, The, San Francisco, CA, United States

Last known Performance:
31-May-1995 : Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA, United States

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