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Henrik Unné

Blue Öyster Cult

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I asked Betsy to put the heavy metal rock group Blue Öyster Cult, which is an old favorite of mine, up for rating. Betsy declined, because I had stated in the request that it was unlikely that many of you here had ever even heard of this rock group. Betsy suggested that I instead start a thread here in the Performing Arts Section. So here goes.

First of all I have to say that, probably, almost nobody else here in the Forum, would like Blue Öyster Cult´s music. It is "heavy metal" music. Not everyone´s cup of tea, I know.

Still, I have a very personal reason for liking Blue Öyster Cult. This rock group´s music helped me to recover from my psychosis back in the years 1974 and 1975. What happened was that when I was in the depths of my psychosis, in 1973, I discovered that my sister, Sophy, had a couple of LPs with weird cover art by a rock group with the strange name of "Blue Öyster Cult". I was curious, and began listening to these LPs. After a few listenings, their music began to "get on my mind". When I was released from the mental hospital in January 1974, I developed a habit of spending several hours every day, listening to BÖC music on my sister´s stereo, while reading and drinking tea or coffee. The way in which this music contributed to my recovery from my psychosis, was that it gradually, over the course of many months, increased the degree to which I focused on something in external reality, instead of just remaining lost in the world of my own thoughts. I listened over and over to the same BÖC songs so many times, that I learned them by heart. I would sing along with the rock group as I played their LPs. And singing along was an exercise in concentration. I believe that just as a runner can improve his ability to run by means of running over and over again, so I improved my ability to focus on external reality, by focusing on the BÖC music playing on my sister´s stereo over and over again.

Blue Öyster Cult´s albums, and there are many of them by now, are of course available at CD Universe and Amazon. The best BÖC albums are the early ones - the eponymously titled first album from 1971, Tyranny and Mutation from 1973, Secret Treaties from 1974, On Your Feet or On Your Knees from 1975, Some Enchanted Evening from 1978 and Imaginos from 1988 are in my opinion the best BÖC albums. The group had five members originally.The group is still around, with only two of the original members active in it nowadays. BÖC has not made any even remotely interesting music in many years. It seems that the band members who are still active have lost the knack for writing good (if you like any heavy metal) music.

BÖCs early music, their heydey was a short three years 1973 to 1975, was *very* heavy. There was a lot of bass guitar, drums and guitars. BÖC was famous for having one of the very best rock guitarists at the time, Donald Roeser, a.k.a. "Buck Dharma". Some of his guitar solos were phenomenal. BÖCs music was very original. There was nothing else like it. BÖC was supposed to have been one of the most influential of the early heavy metal groups. Many heavy metal groups after them are supposed to have been heavily influenced by BÖC (well, maybe most of you here do not think that it is a compliment to say that somebody has been an inspiration to *heavy metal groups*).

It might seem strange that the kind of music made by BÖC could help the recovery of a psychotic, because the music is *not* reality oriented. Music critics sometimes wrote that the lyrics of BÖCs music were "unintelligible". Nobody could understand what the lyrics meant, except perhaps the band members themselves, and even that is doubtfull. I have listened to the BÖC songs so many times that I know many of them by heart. I will try to give you an idea of how "strange" their music is, by quoting from the lyrics of a couple of their songs. In case you are wondering, the members of the BÖC did *not* have a reputation for using heavy drugs, as so many rock musicians did back in the 1970s. I got the impression that the BÖC band members never did anything "worse" than smoke pot (not that I approve of smoking pot).

These lyrics are from the song Astronomy:

It´s the nexus of the crisis

And the origin of storms

Behind a clock back there you know

At the four winds bar

Here is a taste of the lyrics in the song Flaming Telepaths:

Is it any wonder that my mind´s on fire?

Imprisoned by the thought of what to do?

Is it any wonder that my joke´s an iron?

And the joke´s on you.

Nowadays I do not listen so often to BÖC. I have been sated. I like lighter pop music more, nowadays (Madonna and The Pet Shop Boys for example). But I am still fond of BÖC, since they helped me to recover from my psychosis.

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I'm certainly familiar with them. Your post brings to mind their song

.

"Sir Rastus Bear who'd ever believe

You'd be by a song redeemed."

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I'm certainly familiar with them. Your post brings to mind their song
.

"Sir Rastus Bear who'd ever believe

You'd be by a song redeemed."

Yes, I remember that song also. I remember all of the BÖC songs up until the middle of their career, in the 1980s, when their music became uninteresting, in my opinion (with the exception of the 1988 album, Imaginos, which turned out to be just a temporary recovery for BÖC). Redeemed was one of the very few songs that the BÖCs keyboards player, Alan Lanier wrote during the BÖcs heyday in the early 1970s. Alan Lanier was, in my opinion the weakest link in the chain of the five members of the group.

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Blue Oyster Cult is a very popular group, so I definitely know about them. In fact, there was a Saturday Night Live skit on the song "Don't Fear the Reaper". Christopher Walken is their manager and wants "more cowbell." A very funny skit.

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I'm familiar with them. I've seen them open for Rush in 1986. And I even have their 1998 release "Heaven Forbid". Yet I'm not as familiar with the real early stuff; you've piqued my interest.

theDML2112

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I'm familiar with them. I've seen them open for Rush in 1986. And I even have their 1998 release "Heaven Forbid". Yet I'm not as familiar with the real early stuff; you've piqued my interest.

theDML2112

I think that many of Blue Öyster Cult´s early songs were in the same style as See You in Black, which in my opinion was the only really good song on the Heaven Forbid album. By the way, even though I feel that BÖC has gone *way* downhill since the middle of the 1970s, I nevertheless make it a point to purchase every CD that they have issued, which I can get my hands on. I am that big a BÖC fan. I feel a lot of nostalgia for the days of the early 1970s, when they were one of the very best bands around, and when I was in love with their music.

My favorite songs from the early BÖC are these (organised by album)

Blue Öyster Cult (eponymously titled album), 1971: Screams, Workshop of the Telescopes, Cites on Flame.

Tyranny and Mutation, 1973: Teen Archer, Baby Ice Dog, Wings Wetted Down.

Secret Treaties, 1974: Flaming Telepaths, Astronomy, Career of Evil, Dominance and Submission.

On Your Feet or on Your Knees, 1975 (a live double album): Hot Rails to Hell, Cities on Flame, Buck´s Boogie, The Red and the Black.

Agents of Fortune, 1976: Tattoo Vampire, The Revenge of Vera Gemini, Fire of Unknown Origin (this is a bonus track which only appears on a CD, it was not on the original vinyl album).

Spectres, 1977: Fireworks, Nosferatu, Godzilla.

Some Enchanted Evening, 1978: Kick Out the Jams, R U Ready to Rock, E.T.I. Astronomy, Godzilla.

There were several uninteresting albums released by BÖC up until Imaginos, which was a really good album in my opinion, albeit not as good as their first four albums from the early 1970s.

Imaginos, 1988: Blue Öyster Cult, Astronomy, The Seige and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein´s Castle at Weisseria (what a long song title!).

My top favorites of all these songs are Teen Archer, Hot Rails to Hell and Tattoo Vampire.

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