• Writer: Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser
  • Producers: Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman, and David Lucas
  • Recorded: March 1976 at the Record Plant, New York City
  • Released: May 1976
  • Players:
    Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser–lead vocals, guitar
    Eric Bloom–vocals, guitar
    Allen Lanier–guitar, keyboards, vocals
    Joe Bouchard–bass
    Albert Bouchard–drums, vocals
  • Album: Agents Of Fortune (Columbia, 1976)
  • Also On:
    Some Enchanted Evening (Columbia, 1978)
    Extraterrestrial Live (Columbia, 1982)
    Career Of Evil (Columbia, 1990)
    Workshop Of The Telescopes (Legacy/Columbia, 1995)
    A Long Day’s Night (Sanctuary, 2002)
  • “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” was Blue Oyster Cult (BOC)’s breakthrough hit, peaking at Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album Agents of Fortune was their fourth album, and their first to go gold.
  • Singer-guitarist DonaldBuck DharmaRoeser says “Reaper” was the first song he wrote after getting a TEAC four-track home recording machine, which significantly impacted on his writing method — “The guitar line and the first two lines of lyrics just sort of took hold, sprang into existence, and it took about two weeks to finish the tune as far as fleshing out the lyrics and finishing the arrangements.”
  • The spooky opening lick, he says, was inspired by the theme from the TV show One Step Beyond, which used the same interval chord progression between F Minor and G Major.
  • Roeser says BOC took some flack for the song’s lyrics: “Oh yeah. We took a ton, mostly because people interpreted it as advocating suicide. That’s never what it was about. It’s basically a love story that transcends life and death. What it sort of postulates is that there is an afterlife.”
  • Blue Oyster Cult was one of the first hard rock bands to spiff up their name by adding the “umlaut” marks, in their case over the “O” in Oyster.
  • The band’s symbol, a combined hook and cross, is the symbol for Kronos, who in Greek mythology was the king of the Titans and father of Zeus. It is also the alchemical symbol for lead, which is one of the heaviest metals.


  • Blue Oyster Cult continues to record and tour with a lineup of Eric Bloom, Buck Dharma, and Allen Lanier from the original lineup.

The group’s most recent studio album, Curse of the Hidden Mirror, came out in 2001.