Contact Us

No. 53: Blue Oyster Cult, ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs

Columbia Records

Released in 1976, Blue Oyster Cult’s classic ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ could be considered the summation of all they had done up to that point in their career condensed into a five minute song.

The first single, and centerpiece of their fourth studio album ‘Agents Of Fortune,’ it was an instant hit on FM radio, and to this day remains a daily favorite on classic rock radio. It is also the song most identified with BOC, solidifying its inclusion here on our list of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs.

Formed in 1968 as Soft White Underbelly, the group soon changed their name to the Stalk Forest Group and signed with Elektra records. An album was recorded, but never released. They soon adopted the moniker of Blue Oyster Cult and signed with Columbia. The band’s first three albums are all stone cold classics of hard, yet at times very ethereal, rock and roll.

With ‘Agents Of Fortune’ the band fine tuned their sound and as a result connected with radio and record buyers, sending ‘Reaper’ to No.12, and the album into the top 30. The mood is set with a sinister yet inviting Byrds-inspired guitar riff. A driving rhythm and haunting vocals overtake the proceedings and then at the halfway point, the whole thing bursts wide open into guitar frenzy before the overall calm reclaims the terrain. A brilliant piece of rock and roll from start to end.

And yes, we know, the song was parodied on ‘Saturday Night Live’ with Christopher Walken playing a character that actually had nothing to do with the original recordings (Bruce Dickinson was the reissue producer and did not produce the original album, that was Sandy Pearlman). Of this, we can only say, as much as we love Will Farrell, the whole ‘more cowbell’ thing has got to go!

Next Song: Guess Who's at No. 52?

Skip to: No. 100 | No. 80 | No. 60 | No. 40 | No. 20

Watch Blue Oyster Cult Perform ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ultimateclassicrock.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!