35 Years Ago: Blue Öyster Cult Released ‘Spectres’ Album
Released in November of 1977 and remembered mostly for the classic ‘Godzilla,’ ‘Spectres’ found Blue Oyster Cult trying to find their identity after finally hitting the big time.
Under the name the Stalk Forest Group, they recorded an LP for Elektra Records in 1970 which never saw the light of day until a few decades later. A name change to the equally mysterious Blue Oyster Cult and a signing to Columbia Records set the band on the right path.
They released their stunning debut album in 1972, which was quickly followed by the equally marvelous ‘Tyranny And Mutation’ (1973) and ‘Secret Treaties’ (1974). All three of these are drop dead classic rock ‘n’ roll LPs that you, yes you, should own! Their next studio effort, ‘Agents of Fortune,’ was the band’s big breakthrough. The single ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ became a radio smash throughout 1976 and remains the band’s signature song.
With bigger shoes to fill, the band made the somewhat unbalanced, but still striking, ‘Spectres.’ ‘Godzilla’ stormed out of the gate at radio, but failed to chart as a single. One of the album’s greatest moments came with the beautiful ‘I Love the Night,’ which captures the dark, haunting side of the band beautifully. Both these songs are still found on classic rock radio 35 years on, but the bulk of the album seems forgotten by time. Songs like ‘R.U. Ready to Rock’ and ‘The Golden Age of Leather’ are straight ahead rockers, while ‘Goin’ Through the Motions’ finds the guys closing in on an almost power pop-like territory. Co-written by Ian Hunter, it’s certainly one of the band’s greatest lost songs, and it should have been a hit.
‘Nosferatu’ and ‘Celestial the Queen’ tried to recapture elements of the band’s first album, but ultimately fell a bit short. Though the album barely dented the Top 40, the fans loved it and it quickly became a million seller. The band’s reputation as a live act continued to grow, but it would be another four years until they would score another big hit with the wonderful ‘Burnin’ for You.’
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Long live Blue Oyster Cult!