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174: Don’t Fear the Reaper

This is an episode I wrote in the Southern Studio, so I may  have been in a better mood than usual to write it than I ordinarily am, given  the subject matter. When Blue Öyster Cult first got together, they were a college band from Stony Brook, New York. That's not far from where I grew up. Oddly, none of the band's original members are from Long Island. Two of them grew up in New  York City, one in upstate NY and the last was born in Alabama but moved to the Island as a child. Go figure. They took on the name Soft White Underbelly first and used that from 1967-1969. Then they caught a bad review for a show and decided to change their name. After a few permutations they landed on Blue Öyster Cult, which they didn't really like. But the fact is, they didn't care enough at that point to come up with anything else. I touched on this briefly in the episode itself, but it's pretty clear that the band members were still pretty fond of "Soft White Underbelly". Oftentimes when they played smaller clubs around the NY Metro area, that's the name they'd use in those clubs. So when fans of BOC saw an ad in the local newspapers touting that band in the 1970s and 80s, they knew they were actually in for a Blue Öyster Cult show. "Don't Fear the Reaper" is notable for several different reasons. It was a new recording studio and they experimented with their sound in different ways. That would include having Buck Dharma sing the lead. (Dharma is the lead singer on "Godzilla" and "Burnin' For You", so they may have hit on something there.) You'll hear about some of the bells and whistles they use. And yes, you'll hear a little bit about Saturday Night Live and how they feel about it. Click here for a transcript of this episode. Click here to become a Patron of the show. Patrons get a newsletter about 48 times a year (I never counted, but I don't skip weeks often) and now they get advance access to ad-free episodes.

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Every week I choose a song from the 50s through the 80s and dive into its history, the story behind the song and other items of interest. Find more stuff at
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