Blue Oyster Cult is an American rock band that was formed in 1967 in Long Island, N.Y. Currently, the group includes Donald Roeser as backing vocalist and lead guitarist. He is better known by his stage name of "Buck Dharma." Other members include Eric Bloom as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Danny Miranda as bassist and backing vocalist, Jules Radino as the drummer and Richie Castllano as keyboardist, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist. However, the band's longest-lasting lineup - and the one with which it hit the pinnacle of its fame - consisted of Buck Dharma, Bloom and Allen Lanier on keyboards, rhythm guitar and backing vocals, plus Joe and Albert Bouchard on bass and drums, respectively. It was with this classic lineup that the band put out its best-known songs, especially "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You." The last of these reached the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and spent three weeks in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart when it was released as a single in 1981. The video for "Burnin' for You" was also a smash hit and was thereby instrumental in establishing the popularity of the music video medium. After more than five decades together, Blue Oyster Cult has amassed a catalog containing both traditionally aggressive hard rock songs and softer melodic numbers, which the band continues to play at venues both large and small.
Career of Rock
Beginning its career under the collective moniker of Soft White Underbelly, the band would play at small venues in the Long Island area around Stony Brook University. Despite its beginnings in psychedelic rock, the band's manager, Sandy Pearlman, wanted them to become the American answer to Black Sabbath, and it was at his urging that the band would go on to adopt a harder and more aggressive sound as it passed into the 1970s. Throughout the late 1960s, Blue Oyster Cult would struggle to get a recording contract, even having one of its albums shelved in 1969. In 1972, the band was able to release its self-titled debut album. Blue Oyster Cult features "Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll," which remains a staple of Blue Oyster Cult live concerts to this day. The album only reached No. 172 on the Billboard 200 chart, however. From this point, the band would slowly build up its profile as 1973's Tyranny and Mutation and 1974's Secret Treaties would hit No. 122 and No. 53 on the Billboard 200, respectively. The band's rise to fame would come at last with 1976's Agents of Fortune, which peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and spawned a single, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song arguably remains the band's most famous piece of work to this day, and it is a perfect mix of the soft melodies, mellow vocal style and intense hard rock guitar playing that would exemplify the band's style. Blue Oyster Cult's fame would hit its apex in 1981 with the release of Fire of Unknown Origin. This album peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 and would lead to a No. 1 single, "Burnin' for You," that would shoot the group to fame. Since then, Blue Oyster Cult has maintained an extremely dedicated fan base from all over the world.
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What are Blue Oyster Cult concerts like?
Despite the band's wide international acclaim and success, Blue Oyster Cult's members have remained humble. Among hardcore fans, the group is known for being entirely willing to perform even at small venues and in front of tiny crowds, sometimes even going into hiding under its former name, Soft White Underbelly, to make its performances more about the music than about them. In 1976, when touring to promote its album titled Agents of Fortune, Blue Oyster Cult decided to use lasers to construct an elaborate and flashy light show during its concerts. However, the band abandoned this effort after the bulky equipment, which sometimes malfunctioned, got them in trouble with OSHA.
What songs are included in the typical Blue Oyster Cult setlist?
Blue Oyster Cult plays its three most famous songs - "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You" - at virtually every one of the band's live performances. "Burnin' for You" is usually somewhere near the beginning of the set, while "Godzilla" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" generally come near the end. "Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll" is the song the band most frequently chooses to close out a show or use as an encore. "Golden Age of Leather," "Career of Evil, "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)" and "Buck's Boogie," the high-speed instrumental in which Buck Dharma shows off his guitar skills, are other concert favorites.
How long is the typical Blue Oyster Cult concert?
These days, Blue Oyster Cult plays about 15 songs at each concert. The typical show runs an hour and a half to two hours.
How many albums has Blue Oyster Cult sold over the course of its career?
In the United States, Blue Oyster Cult has sold more than 7 million albums. Agents of Fortune is the band's best-selling studio album, certified platinum with over a million copies sold. The band's 1978 live album, Some Enchanted Evening, however, is its best-selling album overall and was also certified platinum. The group also has several gold albums. Worldwide, Blue Oyster Cult has sold more than 24 million albums.
Who are some artists that are similar to Blue Oyster Cult?