(Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult

Writer: Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser

Producers: Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman, and David Lucas

Recorded: March 1976 at the Record Plant, New York City

Released: May 1976

Players: Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser--lead vocals, guitar
Eric Bloom--vocals, guitar
Allen Lanier--guitar, keyboards, vocals
Joe Bouchard--bass
Albert Bouchard--drums, vocals
Album: Agents Of Fortune (Columbia)

"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was Blue Oyster Cult (BOC)'s breakthrough hit, peaking at Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album Agents of Fortune was their fourth album, and their first to go gold.

Singer-guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser says "Reaper" was the first song he wrote after getting a TEAC four-track home recording machine, which significantly impacted on his writing method -- "The guitar line and the first two lines of lyrics just sort of took hold, sprang into existence, and it took about two weeks to finish the tune as far as fleshing out the lyrics and finishing the arrangements."

The spooky opening lick, he says, was inspired by the theme from the TV show One Step Beyond, which used the same interval chord progression between F Minor and G Major.

Roeser says BOC took some flack for the song's lyrics: "Oh yeah. We took a ton, mostly because people interpreted it as advocating suicide. That's never what it was about. It's basically a love story that transcends life and death. What it sort of postulates is that there is an afterlife."

Blue Oyster Cult was one of the first hard rock bands to spiff up their name by adding the "umlaut" marks, in their case over the "O" in Oyster.

The band's symbol, a combined hook and cross, is the symbol for Kronos, who in Greek mythology was the king of the Titans and father of Zeus. It is also the alchemical symbol for lead, which is one of the heaviest metals.