(Don't Fear) The Reaper
Blue Oyster Cult
Blue Oyster Cult 1976 Dont Fear Reaper 45

All our times have come
Here but now they're gone
Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain

1976
12
Year
Peak Chart Position
  • peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1976
  • B-side: "Tattoo Vampire"
  • peaked at No. 16 on the UK Singles chart in 1978
  • from BÖC's fourth studio album, Agents of Fortune (1976)
  • the biggest hit single for Blue Oyster Cult
  • ranks #405 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2010 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • Saturday Night Live referenced this song in a 2000 sketch with actor Christopher Walken, SNL's Will Ferrell and other band members in a recording studio - Walken, as the record producer is requesting "more cowbell" on the track
  • there is still some debate about who played the cowbell on the track: both vocalist/guitarist Eric Bloom and drummer Albert Bouchard claim to have played it - according to Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, “The idea of the cowbell was actually (producer) David Lucas'"
  • Rolling Stone magazine voted the song "Best Rock Single" of 1976
  • lead vocals: Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser
  • written by Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser
  • Buck Dharma comments on the composition: "(Don’t Fear) the Reaper was written on a six string. That was the first tune that I had created once I got a Teac four-track recorder. When affordable multi-track recorders became available in musicians’ hands, you used to have to go into a studio to do that. It really changed a lot of music just in the way that digital has changed music today. It was the first time that individuals could arrange entire songs. When Blue Öyster Cult got four track recorders it really changed the way we wrote. That was the first example of that. The guitar lick was created and the first two lines of lyrics sprung a hole. The song took about six weeks to complete. It was a very creative period for the entire band because there was this new modality of creation. I think the tunes that came out of that era are a lot more individually stamped in the way you can tell a Dharma tune from an Albert Bouchard tune or a Joe Bouchard tune or an Eric Bloom tune. I like stories with twists."
  • produced by David Lucas, Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman
  • recorded at the Record Plant Studios, New York
  • Columbia Records label
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