Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper

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Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper

Blue Oyster Cult Don't Fear the Reaper

Hard Rock Music

The song was written by group member Donald Roeser aka Buck Dharma. It was released on their 1976 album Agents of Fortune and as a single backed with “Tattoo Vampire.” The lyrics deal with eternal love that can exist beyond the inevitability of death. Hence, death is not something to be feared. Unfortunately, the lyrics have been misunderstood by some to believe that they promote a suicide pact, such as one that existed between the fictional lovers of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Dharma said that he was appalled that would be misinterpreted. He says, “It’s basically a love song where the love transcends the actual physical existence of the partners.” Anyway, it was an international hit for Blue Öyster Cult. In 1976, the song  went to #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #7 in Canada, and #16 in the U.K.

Blue Öyster Cult formed on Long Island, New York, in 1967. On the track for “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” are Buck Dharma (guitar), synthesizer, percussion, lead vocals), Eric Bloom (guitar, percussion, backing vocals), Allen Lanier (keyboards, guitar, bass), JOe Bouchard (bass, piano), and Albert Bouchard (drums, acoustic guitar, percussion, harmonica). Also on the track are Michael and Randy Brecker (horns, although this is on the extended and not the single version) and David Lucas (backing vocals, keyboards, percussion, and the infamous cowbell).

Here are the lyrics to “”(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult:

All our times have come
Here but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain, we can be like they are

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand, don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly, don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man

La, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la

Valentine is done
Here but now they’re gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity, Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women every day, Like Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women every day, Redefine happiness
Another 40, 000 coming every day, We can be like they are

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand, don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly, don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man

La, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la

Love of two is one
Here but now they’re gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear that she couldn’t go on

Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew and then disappeared
The curtains flew and then he appeared, saying don’t be afraid

Come on baby, and she had no fear
And she ran to him, then they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodbye, she had become like they are
She had taken his hand, she had become like they are
Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper

The cowbell in “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” was in a Saturday Night Live sketch done in April, 2000. There is a fictionalized recording session of the song on an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music. Will Ferrell plays an overweight cowbell player and Christopher Walken plays the producer who wants him to “really explore the studio space” and add MORE COWBELL. Here’s a clip:

For More 70s Tunes

The System has daily featured music from all sorts of genres of 1970s music. You’re welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections in The System. Thank you for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult.

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