Blue Oyster Cult

Rock | 2008

Blue Öyster Cult came together as Soft White Underbelly in 1967 at Stony Brook College through the efforts of students and rock critics Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer. The original line-up 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 writing songs with Meltzer. They soon added Les Braunstein (vocals). This quintet was signed to Elektra Records, where they recorded an album that was never released. The band soon dropped Braunstein and replaced him with their road manager, Eric Bloom, whom they had met at the Sam Ash Music store in Hempstead. The band’s name was changed to Oaxaca, and they recorded a second Elektra album that went unreleased. Cut loose by Elektra, the group changed their name again, this time to Blue Öyster Cult, and signed to Columbia Records in late 1971, by which time Winters had been replaced by Albert Bouchard’s brother Joe.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 (1972), the band’s debut album, made the charts, followed by Tyranny & Mutation (1973) and Secret Treaties (1974), which became the first to break into the Top 100, eventually earning a gold record. The album Agents of Fortune (1976) yielded the hit single “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (featured in the John Carpenter horror film Halloween) and became their first platinum album. Their success continued with gold-selling Spectres (1978), Mirrors (1979), Cultosaurus Erectus (1980), and the gold-selling Fire of Unknown Origin (1981), which spawned the Top 40 hit “Burnin’ for You.”

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