Tyranny And Mutations, released in 1973, was an album that was born out of songs that were written while the band was on an almost constant touring schedule. During this era of touring, the band was the "opener" for a wide variety of acts (ranging from the Mahavishnu Orchestra to Alice Cooper, which opened their eyes to a certain flaw the group had to overcome.
The flaw was the lack of showmanship and stage presence. BOC began to hone their live skills as well as shed the garments of the earlier incarnations of the combo. They set out to make a heavy album and they most certainly succeeded. In the process, they also fulfilled their new recording company's wishes; Columbia Records had their 'Stateside Black Sabbath'.
Blue Oyster Cult released Secret Treaties in 1974, an album that is said to be the best heavy metal recording of the 1970's. This album garnished much critical acclaim which was the gateway BOC needed to gain popularity across the country.
With fame on the rise due to Secret Treaties, the band began to 'Headline' shows and their first live album was recorded and released in 1975. The album, titled On Your Feet Or To Your Knees gave the world a real look at what the band had transformed into. They covered Born To Be Wild and you can feel the crowd's enthusiastic reaction to Eric Bloom's intimacy. Also, Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roesser's lead guitar talents are really evident, because live is live and there ain't no hiding.
Cult rode a great wave between 1976 and
1983, starting with the Agents Of
Fortune album and ending with The
Revolution By Night. In that span
they released six studio albums and two
live albums. The live album Some
Enchanted Evening is the groups best
selling recording to date, giving
testimony to their great live shows. One
track, a cover of Roadhouse Blues,
gets almost as much airplay as their
most recognizable song, Don't Fear
Agents Of Fortune was the band's 'Step Up' album. The tour that supported the album featured a freestyle laser show that was as much of a part of their on stage personae as the band itself was. Among other uses, the single color light would be shone off of giant mirror balls or strapped to Bloom's wrist to accentuate his fist thrusts into the air. The laser show had to be stopped eventually due to a lawsuit by one concert goer who claimed vision damage from the laser.
Don't Fear The Reaper was a product of this album. The song was shrouded in controversy as some mistook the lyrics to be a call for teen suicide when they actually were just speaking about a love that lasts forever and an urge to seize the day.
Regardless of what the perceived meanings of the lyrics were, Don't Fear The Reaper climbed to number twelve on Billboard's charts and the album was voted as one of the Top 10 rock albums of 1976.
The next album came in 1977, and was recorded between gigs on the road. The album, Spectres, produced another mega hit in the song Godzilla, a rather hard but playful song about the creature that crushed Tokyo so many times. Spectres featured crisp writing and polished sound. The band had been together long enough to really gel, both on stage and in the studio.
In 1978, Some Enchanted Evening was released. Originally desired by the band to be a double disc release, Columbia pared it down to one disc. No matter, the album went platinum in no time. The live set let everyone know that BOC was still the Kings Of The Hall with their opus performances of Astronomy and Don't Fear The Reaper, not to mention the rollicking cover of Roadhouse Blues.
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Sandy Pearlman was put aside as producer for the 1979 Mirrors studio release. Tom Werman, who had previously worked with Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent was brought into the studio as producer with results not being up to the band's previous efforts. Although the song In Thee placed in the top one-hundred on the American charts, the album overall was a disappointment to the band, the fans, and the critics. The general consensus was that the album went a bit too far down the Pop road.
Pearlman once again figured in the Blue
Oyster Scene. He had been hired as Black
Sabbath's stage manager and convinced
Martin Birch, who had produced Sabbath's
Heaven And Hell album to work
with BOC on their next project. Coupled
with Birch and the failed experiment
with Mirrors, the band was ready
to get back to being themselves and quit
trying to produce a hit. The result was
1980's critically acclaimed
Cultosaurus Erectus. The record was
a hit with both critics and fans as it
reached number 14 on the U.K. charts.
What's more, the band felt good about
the project and working with Birch. They
felt like they were once again on top.
time the album was released, Pearlman
was managing BOC again. Being manager to
both Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath
gave Pearlman a unique idea. Since BOC
needed to tour to promote their latest
effort, why not put both bands on the
road together. Here's the hook; The
bands would alternate headlining, not
"we do half the tour as headliners and
you guys get the other half", no, they
alternated EVERY night. The concept of
the Black And Blue tour paid off
as the fans loved it and the resulting
concert video was a huge success.
Birch signed on as producer for the bands next album. In 1981 BOC released Fire Of Unknown Origin which was a result of a fury of songwriting due to the band being asked to contribute four songs for the movie Heavy Metal. Burning For You was the big hit from that effort, reaching number forty on the U.S. charts, as well as one of the songs, Veteran Of The Psychic Wars, actually being used in the movie.