Band Spotlight – Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult is a band that began playing in the late 1960s, and they are still actively playing today. They are a hard rock band who has sold over 14 million albums worldwide. They began performing in Long Island, New York in 1967 and were managed by Sandy Pearlman who hoped that the group would be a U.S. equivalent to Black Sabbath. He landed them a contract with Columbia and Electra. The band went through many names including Soft White Underbelly until settling on Blue Oyster Cult in 1971.

The group is often referred to as the first heavy metal band, and they are sometimes credited for being the first to use the term “heavy metal” as well. Blue Oyster Cult has a band logo which is a cross and hook. Other heavy metal bands began to use a heavy metal umlaut after Blue Oyster Cult began the tradition. Blue Oyster Cult’s logo is on all of their albums. The logo was designed by Pearlman who modeled it after the Greek mythological character Kronos, the king of the Titans and father of Zeus. It is the symbol of lead or heavy metal, much like the sound of the band’s music.

The band’s founding members – Buck Dharma who plays guitar and does vocals, and Eric Bloom, also on guitar and vocals – are the leaders of the group. Albert Bouchard was also with the group for many years, and attended Clarkson College of Technology, as did Bloom. Most of the members of Blue Oyster Cult are now in their sixties.

Blue Oyster Cult was also the name of the group’s debut album in 1972. It brought success and fame to the musicians who toured with other rock groups. Two more successful albums followed. After that, the group released their first live album On Your Feet or on Your Knees in 1975 which went gold in a short time. Right after that, in 1976, they had another album, Agents of Fortune, reach platinum status.

The group’s tours continued with great success, and they became famous for adding lasers to their light shows. In 1978, Blue Oyster Cult released their most popular album which sold over two million copies – Some Enchanted Evening.

Manager Pearlman went on to work with Black Sabbath, and Blue Oyster Cult hired a new manager, Tom Werman. Album sales were not good until Pearlman became involved with their next album. They released Cultosaurus Erectus in 1980. Although the album did well in the UK, it did not sell well in the US.

Not long after this, the band’s drummer left the group. The band got back together in 1985 and began their “Albert Returns” Tour to celebrate Bouchard’s return to the group. After the tour in Germany was finished, Bouchard left the group, as did the bassist Joe Bouchard which left only two of the original band members in the group. One of their biggest hit songs, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” from the Agents of Fortune album was released in 1986. They decided to take a break, but in 1987 when Blue Oyster Cult was given an offer to tour Greece, they formed a new lineup.

They did not release another album for 11 years and continued with their tours through this time. Finally, in 1998 the group released the album Heaven Forbid and in 2001, Curse of the Hidden Mirror.  In 2002, they also released a live album from a Chicago concert entitled, A Long Day’s Night. Since that time, there have been albums reissued from their first four albums, but no new ones. They have a devoted following of fans that extends around the continent.