Friday, December 22, 2006

History of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal: Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult was the thinking man's heavy metal group. The literary tone of their lyrics coupled with a touch of mysticism, spawned a generation of followers and copy-cat bands.

The band that became Blue Öyster Cult was organized in 1967 at Stony Brook College on Long Island by students (and later rock critics) Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer as Soft White Underbelly and consisted of Andy Winters (bass), Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (guitar), John Wiesenthal — quickly replaced by Allen Lanier — (keyboards), and Albert Bouchard (drums), with Pearlman managing and Pearlman and Meltzer writing songs. Initially without a lead singer, they added Les Bronstein on vocals.

This quintet signed to Elektra Records and recorded an album that was never released. They then dropped Bronstein and replaced him with their road manager, Eric Bloom, as the band's name was changed to Oaxaca. A second Elektra album also went unreleased, though a single was issued under the name the Stalk-Forrest Group.

Cut loose by Elektra, they changed their name again, to Blue Öyster Cult, and signed to Columbia Records in late 1971, by which time Winters had been replaced by Albert Bouchard's brother Joe. Blue Öyster Cult, their debut album, was released in January 1972 and made the lower reaches of the charts.

The band finally broke big in 1976 with the release of Agents of Fortune featuring the smash hit and instant classic, "Don't Fear the Reaper."

From there BOC released a string of gold and platinum albums through the rest of the 70s and into the early 80s. The band, despite numerous lineup changes, continues to tour and record sporadically.

Here's Blue Oyster Cult and its one-of-a-kind classic:

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