BLUE ÖYSTER CULT (1967–PRESENT). Eric Bloom (lead vocals/guitar), Donald Roeser, aka Buck Dharma (lead guitar), Allen Lanier (keyboards), Albert Bouchar (drums), Joe Bouchard (bass).
One of the most important heavy metal bands that followed the first wave of innovators—Sabbath, Zeppelin, Deep Purple—Blue Öyster Cult are perhaps best known for their sci-fi lyrical themes and epic live performances that featured some of the first uses of laser light shows. In a twist, BOC was initially masterminded by two writers and rock critics—Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer, when they were college students at Stony Brook College in New York in 1967. Originally named Soft White Underbelly, Pearlman and Meltzer were the primary songwriters,while Pearlman served as the group’s manager. After a bad gig review, Pearlman had the band drop their name and adopt the mantle Blue Öyster Cult. By this time, the band was made up of guitarist Donald Roeser (aka Buck Dharma), keyboardist Allen Lanier, Albert Bouchard on drums, his brother Joe Bouchard on bass, and Eric Bloom on lead vocals and guitar.
Signed by Columbia Records, the band released its debut album in 1972 which featured the heavily riffing “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll.” Their second album, Tyranny & Mutation, came in 1973. Secret Treaties in 1974, featuring the band’s classic “Dominance and Submission,” became their first album to chart, breaking the top 100. Regular touring and a tight live show were making the band a favorite on the concert scene. Columbia capitalized on the band’s live reputation with the classic double-live album On Your Feet or On Your Knees in 1975. The band’s big commercial breakthrough came in 1976 with the release of Agents of Fortune, which featured the band’s hit “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” and became their first gold (and subsequently platinum) album. BOC continued to enjoy a run of commercial success with a string of albums and occasional hit single, culminating with Cultosaurus Erectus in 1981 which featured the single “Burnin’ for You.”
That same year, drummer Albert Bouchard left the band and was replaced by Rick Downey. And in 1984 keyboardist Lanier left. The band continued on with various personnel changes, putting out their final Columbia release, Imaginos, in 1988. Although the band’s releases have become significantly less frequent, they have continued to tour regularly, with Dharma and Bloom being the remaining original members.
Discography: Blue Öyster Cult (Columbia, 1972); Tyranny and Mutation (Columbia, 1973); Secret Treaties (Columbia, 1974); On Your Feet or on Your Knees [live] (Columbia, 1975); Agents of Fortune (Columbia, 1976); Spectres (Columbia, 1977); Some Enchanted Evening (Columbia, 1978); Mirrors (Columbia, 1979); Cultosaurus Erectus (Columbia, 1980); Fire of Unknown Origin (Columbia, 1981); Extraterrestrial Live (Columbia, 1982); Blue Öyster Cult Live (Columbia, 1982); The Revolution by Night (Columbia, 1983); Club Ninja (Koch International, 1986); Imaginos (Columbia, 1988); Bad Channels (Moonstone, 1992); Live 1976 (Gopaco, 1994); Heaven Forbid (CMC International, 1998); Champions of Rock (EMI, 1998); The Curse of the Hidden Mirror (CMC International, 2001); A Long Day’s Night [live] (Sanctuary, 2002).