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).