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Blue Oyster Cult. (2006, January 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:48, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blue_Oyster_Cult&oldid=36765711

Blue ├ - yster Cult is an American rock band formed in New York in 1967 and still active in 2009. The group is especially well known for songs including "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Godzilla", and "Burnin' for You". The band is one of the pioneering bands in heavy metal music, both for its hard-edged musical assault and its use of sci-fi and occult imagery and subject matter.[citation needed] They have sold over 14 million albums worldwide.[1]

The band originated out of an outfit called Soft White Underbelly (a name the band would later occasionally use in the 1970's and 1980's to play small club gigs around the U.S.) in 1967 in the vicinity of Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York, at the prompting of critic and manager Sandy Pearlman.[2] Pearlman was very important to the band""he was able to get them gigs, recording contracts with Elektra and Columbia, and he provided them with his poetry for use as lyrics for many of their songs, including "Astronomy". Writer Richard Meltzer also provided the band with lyrics from their early days up through their most recent studio album. The band (with original lead vocalist Les Braunstein and bassist Andrew Winters) recorded an album's worth of material for Elektra Records in 1968. When Braunstein departed in early 1969, Elektra shelved the album.

Eric Bloom (formerly the band's acoustic engineer) replaced Braunstein, and the band continued to perform as Soft White Underbelly. However, a bad review of a 1969 Fillmore East show caused Pearlman to change the name of the band - first to Oaxaca, then to the Stalk-Forrest Group. The band recorded yet another album's worth of material for Elektra, but only one single ("What Is Quicksand?" b/w "Arthur Comics") was released (and only in a promo edition of 300 copies) on Elektra Records. (This album was eventually released, with additional outtakes, by Rhino Handmade Records as St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings in 2001). After a few more temporary band names, including the Santos Sisters, the band settled on Blue ├ - yster Cult in 1971. (see "band name" section below for its origin).

Pearlman was able to get the renamed band another audition with Columbia Records. Clive Davis liked what he heard, and signed the band to the label.

Their debut album Blue ├ - yster Cult was released in January 1972, with a black and white cover designed by artist Bill Gawlik. The album featured the songs "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll," "Stairway to the Stars," and "Then Came the Last Days of May". The album sold well, and Blue ├ - yster Cult toured with artists such as the Byrds, Alice Cooper and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Their next album Tyranny and Mutation, released in 1973, was written while the band was on tour for their first LP. It contained songs such as "The Red and The Black" (an ode to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and basically a sped-up rewrite of "I'm On The Lamb", from the debut album), "Hot Rails To Hell", and "Baby Ice Dog", the first of the band's many collaborations with Patti Smith.

The band's third album, Secret Treaties (1974) received positive reviews, featuring songs such as "Career of Evil" (also co-written by Patti Smith), "Dominance and Submission" and "Astronomy." As a result of constant touring, the band was now capable of headlining arenas.

The band's first live album On Your Feet or on Your Knees (1975) achieved greater success and went gold, and was followed up by their first platinum albums, Agents of Fortune (1976). It contained the hit single "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", which reached #12 on the Billboard charts. Other major songs on the album were "(This Ain't) The Summer of Love," "E.T.I. (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)," and "The Revenge of Vera Gemini." For the tour, the band added lasers to their light show, which they became known for.[3]

Their next album, Spectres (1977), had the FM radio hit "Godzilla", but its sales were not as strong as those for the previous album.

The band then released another live album, Some Enchanted Evening (1978). Though it was intended as another double-live album in the vein of On Your Feet Or On Your Knees, Columbia insisted that it be edited down to single-album length. It became Blue ├ - yster Cult's most popular album, eventually selling over 2 million copies.

It was followed by the studio album Mirrors (1979). For Mirrors, instead of working with previous producers Pearlman (who instead went on to manage Black Sabbath) and Krugman, Blue ├ - yster Cult chose Tom Werman, who had worked with acts such as Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent. However, the resulting album sales were disappointing.

Pearlman's association with Black Sabbath was tapped for the next Blue ├ - yster Cult album, which resulted in Sabbath's Heaven and Hell producer Martin Birch being hired for the next Blue ├ - yster Cult record. The result was positive, with Cult├Âsaurus Erectus (1980) receiving good reviews. The album went to #14 in the UK, but did not do as well in the U.S. One of the notable songs on the album was the song "Black Blade," which was written by Bloom with lyrics by sci-fi and fantasy author Michael Moorcock. The song is a kind of retelling of Moorcock's famous Elric of Melnibon├ę-Saga. The band also did a co-headlining tour with Black Sabbath in support of the album, calling it the "Black and Blue Tour."

Birch produced the band's next album as well, Fire of Unknown Origin (1981). The biggest hit on this album was the Top 40 hit "Burnin' For You," a song Dharma had written with a Richard Meltzer lyric. He had intended to use it on his 1982 solo album, Flat Out, but he was convinced to use it on the Blue ├ - yster Cult album instead. The album went platinum, and contained other fan favorites such as "Joan Crawford" (inspired by the book and film Mommie Dearest) and "Veteran of the Psychic Wars", another song co-written by Moorcock. Several of the songs had been written for the animated film Heavy Metal, but only "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" (which, ironically, was not written for Heavy Metal) was actually used in the movie. After this album, Albert Bouchard had a falling out with the others and left the band, and Rick Downey (formerly the band's lighting designer) replaced him on drums.

After leaving the band, Albert Bouchard spent five years working on a solo album based on Sandy Pearlman's poem "Imaginos." Blue ├ - yster Cult released a live album Extraterrestrial Live, then went to the studio for the next album, with Bruce Fairbairn as producer, the 1983 release The Rev├Âlution by Night. Its highest-charting single was "Shooting Shark," co-written by Patti Smith, which reached #83 on the charts. Shooting Shark also featured Randy Jackson, of Earth Wind And Fire, and later American Idol fame, on bass. After Rev├Âlution, Rick Downey left, leaving Blue ├ - yster Cult without a drummer. The band re-united with Albert Bouchard for a California tour in February 1985, infamously known as the "Albert Returns" Tour. This arrangement was only temporary, and caused more tensions between the band and Bouchard, as he had thought he would be staying on permanently, which was not the case. The band had only intended to use him as a last-minute fill-in until another drummer could come on board, which resulted in Bouchard's leaving after the tour. Allen Lanier also quit the band shortly thereafter, leaving the band without a keyboardist.

Blue ├ - yster Cult hired drummer Jimmy Wilcox and keyboardist Tommy Zvoncheck to finish the Club Ninja album, which was poorly received, with only "Dancing In The Ruins" -- one of several songs on the record written entirely by outside songwriters -- enjoying minimal success on radio and MTV. The highlight of the album was "Perfect Water" written by Dharma and Jim Carroll (noted author of The Basketball Diaries).

The band toured in Germany, after which bassist Joe Bouchard left, leaving only two original members, Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma -- some referred to the band as "Two ├ - yster Cult" during this period. Jon Rogers was hired to replace Joe, and this version of the band finished out the 1986 tour. After the tour wound up that year, the band took a temporary break from recording and touring, its future uncertain.

When Blue ├ - yster Cult received an offer to tour in Greece in the early summer of 1987, the band sprang back into action. The new line-up contained founding members Eric Bloom, Buck Dharma and Allen Lanier, with Jon Rogers returning on bass, and Ron Riddle on drums. Columbia Records was not interested in releasing the Imaginos project as an Albert Bouchard solo album, so Pearlman arranged for it to be released in 1988 by Columbia as a Blue ├ - yster Cult album, with some new vocal and instrumental overdubs from Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma. The album did not sell very well (despite a positive review in Rolling Stone magazine), and though Blue ├ - yster Cult did tour to promote Imaginos, promotion by the label was virtually non-existent. When Columbia Records was purchased by Sony Music, Blue ├ - yster Cult were dropped from the label.

The band spent the next 11 years touring without releasing an album, though they did contribute two new songs to the Bad Channels movie soundtrack, released in 1992. Riddle quit in 1991, and was followed by a series of other drummers including Chuck Burgi (1991 - 1995, 1996 - 1997) John Miceli (1992 European Tour & filled in gigs in 1995 - 1996) John O'Reilly (1995 - 1996) and Bobby Rondinelli (1997 - 2004). Jules Radino joined in 2004, and is the band's current drummer. Rogers left in 1995, and was replaced by Danny Miranda. Miranda left in 2004 - he is now the bassist for Queen + Paul Rodgers - and Richie Castellano replaced him.

Allen Lanier retired from live performances in 2007, after not appearing with the band since late 2006. He has not been replaced. Castellano has switched to rhythm guitar and keyboards (Castellano also filled in on lead guitar and vocals for an ailing Buck Dharma in two shows in 2005), and the band has employed three "guest bassists" on a rotating basis: Danny Miranda, Jon Rogers and Rudy Sarzo (ex-Quiet Riot, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Whitesnake, currently of Dio).

In December 2008, BOC management announced that Buck Dharma had fallen down a staircase in his Florida home and injured his shoulder. As a result, several tour dates in December 2008 and January 2009 were cancelled or postponed. Dharma is expected to make a full recovery.

In the late 1990s, Blue ├ - yster Cult secured a recording contract with CMC Records (later purchased by Sanctuary Records), and continued to tour frequently. Two studio albums were released, 1998's Heaven Forbid and Curse of the Hidden Mirror from 2001. Both albums featured songs co-written by cyberpunk/horror novelist John Shirley. Another live record, A Long Day's Night and DVD (same title), followed in 2002, both drawn from one concert in Chicago.

Blue ├ - yster Cult have since had a falling out with Sanctuary Records, and are currently without a record deal.

In 2001, Sony/Columbia's reissue arm, Legacy Records issued expanded versions of the first four Blue ├ - yster Cult studio albums, including some previously unreleased demos and outtakes from album sessions, live recordings (from the Live 72 ep), and post-St. Cecilia tunes from the Stalk-Forrest Group era.

In February 2007, the Sony Legacy remaster series continued, releasing expanded versions of studio album Spectres and live album Some Enchanted Evening (album), leaving the first live album On Your Feet Or On Your Knees still without the treatment. However, the liner notes for the second round of remasters differ from the photos and in-depth analysis of the first four releases, and did not include lyrics as the earlier releases had.

The name "Blue ├ - yster Cult" came from a 1960s poem written by manager Sandy Pearlman. It was part of his "Imaginos" poetry, later used more extensively in their 1988 album Imaginos. Pearlman had also come up with the band's earlier name, "Soft White Underbelly", from a phrase used by Winston Churchill in describing Italy during World War II. In Pearlman's poetry, the "Blue Oyster Cult" was a collection of aliens who had collected to secretly guide Earth's history.

The addition of the umlaut was suggested by either Allen Lanier or Richard Meltzer. Other bands later copied the practice of using umlauts or diacritic marks in their own band logos (see Heavy metal umlaut), such as Mot├Ârhead, M├Âtley Cr├╝e, Queensr├┐che, and the parody band Sp─▒n╠łal Tap, which, along with a dotless letter i, put an "umlaut" over the n (a symbol found only in the Jacaltec language of Guatemala and in some orthographies of Malagasy).[4]

The hook-and-cross logo was designed by Bill Gawlik[2] and appears on all of the band's albums.[4]

The band was billed, for the only time, as The Blue ├ - yster Cult on the cover and label of their second album, Tyranny And Mutation.

While Eric Bloom has always been the band's official lead singer, other members of the band have contributed lead vocals throughout its history.

"Then Came the Last Days of May," "Before the Kiss, a Redcap," "Teen Archer," "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Golden Age of Leather," "I Love the Night," "In Thee," "Mirrors," "The Vigil," "Lonely Teardrops," "Deadline," "Burnin' for You," "Don't Turn Your Back," "Shooting Shark," "Veins," "Dragon Lady," "Dancin' in the Ruins," "Perfect Water," "Spy in the House of the Night," "Madness to the Method," "Astronomy (Imaginos version)," "Les Invisibles," "Magna of Illusion," "Harvest Moon," "X-Ray Eyes," "Damaged," "Real World," "Live for Me," "Still Burnin'," "Dance on Stilts," "Pocket," "Here Comes That Feeling" and "Stone of Love"

"Screams," "Hot Rails to Hell," "Wings Wetted Down," "Morning Final," "Celestial The Queen," "Nosferatu," "Moon Crazy," "Fallen Angel," "Vengeance (The Pact)," "Light Years of Love," "When the War Comes"

"Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll," "Dominance and Submission," "The Revenge of Vera Gemini," "Sinful Love," "Debbie Denise," "Death Valley Nights," "Cagey Cretins" (Trades off with Eric Bloom) "Fireworks," "You're Not the One (I Was Looking For)," "Hungry Boys" and "Blue ├ - yster Cult" (Trades off with Buck Dharma)

"True Confessions"

"Imaginos"

"The Siege and Investiture of Baron Von Frankenstein's Castle at Weisseria"

Due to their unique sound and diversity, Blue ├ - yster Cult have been very influential to many modern bands that span many genres, and are often viewed as important pioneers of several different styles of rock music that came to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. Many heavy metal bands have cited them as a major influence, and bands such as Metallica, HIM, and Iced Earth have covered their songs on studio recordings and during live performances. The song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" has also been covered by many diverse artists, notably The Goo Goo Dolls, Wilco, Big Country, and deceased singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. The bands The Minutemen and fIREHOSE, featuring renowned bassist Mike Watt, frequently performed versions of "The Red & The Black" during their career. They were also quite influential to several early punk rock bands. They are seen as one of the main influences by Rock noir bands such as the genre originators Belladonna. The Australian punk band Radio Birdman named their debut album, Radios Appear, after a Blue ├ - yster Cult lyric from the song "Dominance and Submission".

Blue ├ - yster Cult have also been an influence on many of the harder-edged, psychedelic bands in the modern jam band scene because of their intimate live shows and extended improvisations. Out of these bands, fellow New Yorkers moe. have cited Blue ├ - yster Cult as one of their primary influences. They have been greatly influenced by Blue ├ - yster Cult in their style of guitar-driven jamming, their elaborate light shows, slightly tongue-in-cheek and eclectic songwriting, and the intimate atmosphere of their live performances. moe. also frequently covers Blue ├ - yster Cult classics in their sets, and members of Blue ├ - yster Cult have appeared onstage with the band several times in the past few years, including the 2002 Jammy Awards. A photo of the performance can be seen here.

Blue ├ - yster Cult was parodied in a sketch aired on a 2000 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live. In the sketch, actor Christopher Walken portrays a fictional mega-rock producer Bruce Dickinson, who is overseeing the 1976 studio recording of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." The band begins by performing the song, then breaks off the take in the middle, due to anger at their overly loud and vigorous cowbell player, Gene Frenkle (played by Will Ferrell). A dissatisfied Dickinson comes out from behind the glass, saying he loves the song and insisting "I gotta have more cowbell." Further takes follow.

As with many SNL sketches, lines from the sketch became catch phrases, even going so far as to spawn merchandise based on the sketch. The band has responded to this by having a roadie play a cowbell on stage during performances.

Walken's "Bruce Dickinson" character is not to be confused with Bruce Dickinson, the singer of Iron Maiden. In reality, Bruce Dickinson was not a record producer, but a mid-level manager who worked at Columbia Records and packaged their greatest hits record, but had nothing to do with "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." Insiders say that the producer character was based on Sandy Pearlman, and cite Walken's dead-ringer impression of Pearlman's speech patterns, walk, and clothing as evidence.

At the end of the sketch, an in memoriam was shown: Gene Frenkle, 1950""2000. Eric Bloom later said in an interview that "Gene Frenkle" was absolutely fictional, and that he had never met or worked with anyone named Gene Frenkle. Bloom also said that it was he who had played the cowbell on that recording.

In The Simpsons Episode "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily" when Bart is on trial for robbing a police car and the judge asks why he wasn't at school, Homer told that he was chasing the KBBL van for a $40 prize and a Blue Oyster Cult medallion, and as a point for his decision Homer offers himself to sing a part of "Don't Fear (The reaper)"

Blue Oyster Cult. (2006, January 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:48, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blue_Oyster_Cult&oldid=36765711

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