(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#12); 1976

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The band-that-would-become Blue Oyster Cult began life as Soft White Underbelly – from a Winston Churchill quote – in 1967, guided by rock writers Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer. Much personnel and musical experimentation ensued. Both Pearlman and Meltzer took a turn singing lead, albums were recorded and shelved, the band changed its name to the Stalk-Forrest Group; all to no avail until 1971 when the now-named Blue Oyster Cult caught the ear of an ad jingle producer at a nudist party gig. A demo was recorded and Columbia Records snagged them. The group’s first two albums performed disappointingly, while the next two picked up enough steam to go gold. With 1976’s Agents Of Fortune the biker/occult heavy metal approach had given way to a more mainstream sound as evidenced by (Don’t Fear) The Reaper. Written by lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and sung by Eric Bloom, Reaper became BOC’s signature song and staple at classic rock radio.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • David Lucas
  • Murray Krugman
  • Sandy Pearlman

Lyrics Written by:

  • Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser