Blue Öyster Cult (album)

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Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Oyster Cult.png
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 16, 1972
RecordedOctober 1971
StudioThe Warehouse, New York City
Label Columbia
Producer Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman, David Lucas
Blue Öyster Cult chronology
Blue Öyster Cult
Tyranny and Mutation
Singles from Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult is the eponymous debut studio album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on January 16, 1972 by Columbia Records. The album featured songs such as "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", "Stairway to the Stars", and "Then Came the Last Days of May", all of which the band still plays regularly during its concerts. Despite positive reviews, the album failed to chart for some time before finally cracking the Billboard 200 chart on May 20, 1972, peaking at No. 172. [1] Blue Öyster Cult toured with artists such as The Byrds, Alice Cooper and the Mahavishnu Orchestra to support the album. [2]

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Blue Öyster Cult American hard rock band

Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band formed on Long Island, New York in 1967, perhaps best known for the singles "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' for You", "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", and "Godzilla." Blue Öyster Cult has sold more than 24 million records worldwide, including 7 million in the United States alone. The band's music videos, especially "Burnin' for You," received heavy rotation on MTV when the music television network premiered in 1981, cementing the band's contribution to the development and success of the music video in modern popular culture.

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.


Track information

Transmaniacon MC

"Transmaniacon MC" is about the Altamont Free Concert. The "MC" in the title stands for "motorcycle club".

Altamont Free Concert 1969 music festival in northern California

The Altamont Speedway Free Festival was a counterculture rock concert held on Saturday, December 6, 1969 at the Altamont Speedway, northern California, United States.

Motorcycle club group of individuals whose primary interest and activities involve motorcycles

A motorcycle club is a group of individuals whose primary interest and activities involve motorcycles. A motorcycle group can range as clubbed groups of different bikes or bikers who own same model of vehicle like the Harley Owners Group.

I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep

"I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep" is about a fugitive pursued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was originally recorded in 1970 (when the band was known as Oaxaca). Another version from 1970 was intended to be included on the band's unreleased first album for Elektra Records (when the band was known as "Stalk-Forrest Group"). Both of these 1970 versions were eventually included on St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings . In 1971, the song was recorded again and finally released on the first Columbia album, and then recorded again at a much faster tempo and with much heavier guitars as "The Red and the Black" and included on the band's second Columbia album, Tyranny and Mutation . The main riff in this song was heavily inspired by "Frying Pan", a Captain Beefheart b-side from 1966. Some versions of the song make this influence more apparent than others.[ citation needed ]

Royal Canadian Mounted Police mounted police force in Canada

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the federal and national police force of Canada. The RCMP provides law enforcement at the federal level. It also provides provincial policing in eight of Canada's provinces and local policing on contract basis in the three territories and more than 150 municipalities, 600 aboriginal communities, and three international airports. The RCMP does not provide active provincial or municipal policing in Ontario or Quebec. However, all members of the RCMP have jurisdiction as a peace officer in all parts of Canada, including Ontario and Quebec.

Elektra Records American record label

Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group, founded in 1950 by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt. It played an important role in the development of contemporary folk music and rock music between the 1950s and 1970s. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived as an imprint of Atlantic in 2009. As of October 2018, Elektra was detached from the Atlantic Records umbrella and reorganized into Elektra Music Group, once again operating as an independently managed frontline label of Warner Music.

<i>St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings</i> 2001 compilation album by Stalk-Forrest Group

St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings is a compilation album by the American rock band Stalk-Forrest Group. The tracks were recorded in 1969 and early 1970, but not officially released until 2001. The album compiles all the recorded output by the group that was recorded for Elektra Records during their short tenure with the label.

Then Came the Last Days of May

"Then Came the Last Days of May" is based on a reportedly-true story, when two friends of Dharma's were killed in a drug deal gone bad in the West:

It was still in the Soft White Underbelly days when we were playing dances at Stony Brook University [on Long Island] for our sustenance money. Three Stony Brook students went to Tuscon, Arizona, to buy some bulk marijuana for resale. I don’t know how they got whatever contact they had, but it was two brothers – scions from one of the better-to-do families in Tuscon. They never intended to sell them any pot. They just wanted to rip 'em off and shoot 'em, which they did. They took them out to the desert and shot them. It was three guys, and one managed to survive and get back to the highway...I wrote the story from basically the newspaper accounts of the Long Island newspaper, Newsday. [3] [4]

This song is frequently played live as a showcase for Buck Dharma's guitar soloing skills. [5]

Before the Kiss, a Redcap

Originally titled "Conry's Bar", "Before the Kiss, a Redcap" describes scenes from that real location. Guitarist Buck Dharma explains the title as originating in an event witnessed by lyricist/manager Sandy Pearlman in which the titular drug was passed between partners during a kiss. The term "redcap" was supposedly slang for a type of barbiturate; [6] however, "redcap" usually referred to the drug Dalmane.

Buck Dharma American musician

Donald Bruce Roeser, more commonly known by his stage name Buck Dharma, is an American guitarist and songwriter, best known for being a member of Blue Öyster Cult since the group's formation in 1967. He wrote and sang vocals on several of the band's best-known hits, including "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You."

Samuel Clarke "Sandy" Pearlman was an American music producer, artist manager, music journalist and critic, professor, poet, songwriter, and record company executive. He was best known for founding, writing for, producing, or co-producing many LPs by Blue Öyster Cult, as well as producing important albums by The Clash, The Dictators, Pavlov's Dog, Space Team Electra, and Dream Syndicate; he was also the founding Vice President of He was the Schulich Distinguished Professor Chair at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, and from August 2014 held a Marshall McLuhan Centenary Fellowship at the Coach House Institute (CHI) of the University of Toronto Faculty of Information as part of the CHI's McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.

Barbiturate drug that acts as central nervous system depressants

A barbiturate is a drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant, and can therefore produce a wide range of effects, from mild sedation to death. Barbiturates are effective as anxiolytics, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants, but have physical and psychological addiction potential as well as overdose potential among other possible adverse effects. They have largely been replaced by benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines ("Z-drugs") in routine medical practice, particularly in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, due to the significantly lower risk of addiction and overdose and the lack of an antidote for barbiturate overdose. Despite this, barbiturates are still in use for various purposes: in general anesthesia, epilepsy, treatment of acute migraines or cluster headaches, euthanasia, capital punishment, and assisted suicide.

Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll

"Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" was written by Sandy Pearlman, Donald Roeser and Albert Bouchard, and released as a single. Bouchard performed lead vocals, also singing from his drum kit in concerts. The riff was inspired by Black Sabbath's song "The Wizard," featured on their own self-titled debut album. It remains a staple of Blue Öyster Cult's live shows. On live albums, the name of the song is shortened to "Cities on Flame."


"Redeemed" was written by singer-songwriter Harry Farcas, and sold to the band. Other band members are listed as authors, due to their input in the arrangement. "Sir Rastus Bear" was Farcas' pet Saint Bernard. Farcas is now an iridologist in Southern California.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [7]
Christgau's Record Guide B+ [8]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 8/10 [9]

The album received a positive reaction from critics. Lester Bangs gave the album a generally positive review in Rolling Stone stating, "with the Blue Öyster Cult, New York has produced its first authentic boogie beast, and with any luck this one should be around for awhile [ sic ]" telling readers that "I don't think you should miss this album." [10] Circus wrote that "it could well be the album of the Seventies", [11] while Robert Christgau in The Village Voice called it "the tightest and most musical hard rock record since – dare I say it? – Who's Next ". [12] The record was named an honorable mention on IGN's list of "Top 25 Metal Albums" [13] and has been called "heavy metal for people who hate heavy metal." [14] Canadian critic Martin Popoff criticized the "limp and lifeless" guitar sound and the unimpressive percussive display, which did not make a good service to the "tragic and beautiful BÖC compositions" on the album, leaving the listener "in muted bewilderment". [9]

Covers and appearances

"Transmaniacon MC" is featured in the video game Rock Band as downloadable content that may be purchased off of the system or downloaded from the Rock Band Metal Track Pack using a one-time use code.[ citation needed ]

A cover version of "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" was featured as a track in the music video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock . Additionally, the song has been covered by Church of Misery (on Master of Brutality ), Iced Earth (on Tribute to the Gods ) and 3 Inches of Blood (as a bonus track on Here Waits Thy Doom ) Additionally, the song appears in the American television period sitcom That '70s Show , as well as its soundtrack.

Guitarist William Tyler performs a 2015 solo acoustic instrumental version of "She's as Beautiful as a Foot" on Aquarium Drunkard's "Lagniappe Sessions" page.

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Transmaniacon MC" Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard, Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, Sandy Pearlman Bloom3:21
2."I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep"Bloom, A. Bouchard, PearlmanBloom3:10
3."Then Came the Last Days of May"RoeserRoeser3:31
4."Stairway to the Stars"A. Bouchard, Roeser, Richard Meltzer Bloom3:43
5."Before the Kiss, a Redcap" Allen Lanier, Murray Krugman, Roeser, PearlmanRoeser4:59
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."Screams" Joe Bouchard J. Bouchard3:10
7."She's as Beautiful as a Foot"A. Bouchard, Lanier, MeltzerBloom2:58
8."Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll"A. Bouchard, Roeser, PearlmanA. Bouchard4:03
9."Workshop of the Telescopes"Bloom, A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard, Lanier, Roeser, PearlmanBloom4:01
10."Redeemed"A. Bouchard, Lanier, Harry Farcas, PearlmanBloom3:51


Band members
2001 bonus tracks as 'Soft White Underbelly'


1972 Billboard 200 (United States)172 [1]

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