Blue Öyster Cult (album)

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Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Oyster Cult.png
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 16, 1972
RecordedOctober 1971
StudioThe Warehouse, New York City
ProducerMurray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman, David Lucas
Blue Öyster Cult chronology
Blue Öyster Cult
Tyranny and Mutation
Singles from Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult is the eponymous debut studio album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on January 16, 1972 by Columbia Records. The album featured songs such as "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", "Stairway to the Stars", and "Then Came the Last Days of May", all of which the band still plays regularly during its concerts. Despite positive reviews, the album failed to chart for some time before finally cracking the Billboard 200 chart on May 20, 1972, peaking at No. 172.[1] Blue Öyster Cult toured with artists such as The Byrds, Alice Cooper and the Mahavishnu Orchestra to support the album.[2]

Track information[edit]

Transmaniacon MC[edit]

"Transmaniacon MC" is about the Altamont Free Concert. The "MC" in the title stands for "motorcycle club".

I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep[edit]

"I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep" is about a fugitive pursued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was originally recorded in 1970 (when the band was known as Oaxaca). Another version from 1970 was intended to be included on the band's unreleased first album for Elektra Records (when the band was known as "Stalk-Forrest Group"). Both of these 1970 versions were eventually included on St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings. In 1971, the song was recorded again and finally released on the first Columbia album, and then recorded again at a much faster tempo and with much heavier guitars as "The Red and the Black" and included on the band's second Columbia album, Tyranny and Mutation. The main riff in this song was heavily inspired by "Frying Pan", a Captain Beefheart b-side from 1966. Some versions of the song make this influence more apparent than others.[citation needed]

Then Came the Last Days of May[edit]

"Then Came the Last Days of May" is based on a reportedly-true story, when two friends of Dharma's were killed in a drug deal gone bad in the West:

It was still in the Soft White Underbelly days when we were playing dances at Stony Brook University [on Long Island] for our sustenance money. Three Stony Brook students went to Tuscon [sic], Arizona, to buy some bulk marijuana for resale. I don’t know how they got whatever contact they had, but it was two brothers – scions from one of the better-to-do families in Tuscon [sic]. They never intended to sell them any pot. They just wanted to rip 'em off and shoot 'em, which they did. They took them out to the desert and shot them. It was three guys, and one managed to survive and get back to the highway ... I wrote the story from basically the newspaper accounts of the Long Island newspaper, Newsday ... There’s a personal connection, too. I knew one of the guys casually from Stony Brook University when we were hanging out there.[3][4]

This song is frequently played live as a showcase for Buck Dharma's guitar soloing skills.[5]

Before the Kiss, a Redcap[edit]

Originally titled "Conry's Bar", "Before the Kiss, a Redcap" describes scenes from that real location. Guitarist Buck Dharma explains the title as originating in an event witnessed by lyricist/manager Sandy Pearlman in which the titular drug was passed between partners during a kiss. The term "redcap" was supposedly slang for a type of barbiturate;[6] however, "redcap" usually referred to the drug Dalmane.

Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll[edit]

"Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" was written by Sandy Pearlman, Donald Roeser and Albert Bouchard, and released as a single. Bouchard performed lead vocals, also singing from his drum kit in concerts. The riff was inspired by Black Sabbath's song "The Wizard," featured on their own self-titled debut album. It remains a staple of Blue Öyster Cult's live shows. On live albums, the name of the song is shortened to "Cities on Flame."


The lyrics were written by singer-songwriter Harry Farcas, and sold to the band. "Sir Rastus Bear" was Farcas' pet Saint Bernard.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[8]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[9]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[10]
Classic Rock3.5/5 stars[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[12]

The album received a positive reaction from critics. Lester Bangs gave the album a generally positive review in Rolling Stone stating, "with the Blue Öyster Cult, New York has produced its first authentic boogie beast, and with any luck this one should be around for awhile" telling readers that "I don't think you should miss this album."[13] Circus wrote that "it could well be the album of the Seventies",[14] while Robert Christgau in The Village Voice called it "the tightest and most musical hard rock record since – dare I say it? – Who's Next".[15] The record was named an honorable mention on IGN's list of "Top 25 Metal Albums"[16] and has been called "heavy metal for people who hate heavy metal."[17] Canadian critic Martin Popoff criticized the "limp and lifeless" guitar sound and the unimpressive percussive display, which did not make a good service to the "tragic and beautiful BÖC compositions" on the album, leaving the listener "in muted bewilderment".[10]

Covers and appearances[edit]

"Transmaniacon MC" is featured in the video game Rock Band as downloadable content that may be purchased off of the system or downloaded from the Rock Band Metal Track Pack using a one-time use code.[citation needed]

A cover version of "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" was featured as a track in the music video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Additionally, the song has been covered by Church of Misery (on Master of Brutality), Iced Earth (on Tribute to the Gods) and 3 Inches of Blood (as a bonus track on Here Waits Thy Doom) Additionally, the song appears in the American television period sitcom That '70s Show, as well as its soundtrack.

Guitarist William Tyler performs a 2015 solo acoustic instrumental version of "She's as Beautiful as a Foot" on Aquarium Drunkard's "Lagniappe Sessions" page.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Transmaniacon MC"Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard, Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, Sandy PearlmanBloom3:21
2."I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep"Bloom, A. Bouchard, PearlmanBloom3:10
3."Then Came the Last Days of May"RoeserRoeser3:31
4."Stairway to the Stars"A. Bouchard, Roeser, Richard MeltzerBloom3:43
5."Before the Kiss, a Redcap"Allen Lanier, Murray Krugman, Roeser, PearlmanRoeser4:59
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."Screams"Joe BouchardJ. Bouchard3:10
7."She's as Beautiful as a Foot"A. Bouchard, Lanier, MeltzerBloom2:58
8."Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll"A. Bouchard, Roeser, PearlmanA. Bouchard4:03
9."Workshop of the Telescopes"Bloom, A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard, Lanier, Roeser, PearlmanBloom4:01
10."Redeemed"A. Bouchard, Lanier, Harry Farcas, PearlmanBloom3:51
2001 CD reissue bonus tracks (recorded at CBS Studios, New York City, July–September 1969)
11."Donovan's Monkey"A. Bouchard, Meltzer3:50
12."What Is Quicksand"Lanier, Meltzer3:40
13."A Fact About Sneakers"A. Bouchard, Meltzer2:50
14."Betty Lou's Got a New Pair of Shoes"Bobby Freeman2:34
Total length:49:02


Band members
2001 bonus tracks as 'Soft White Underbelly'
  • Eric Bloom - vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Albert Bouchard - drums, vocals
  • Allen Lanier - keyboards, rhythm guitar
  • Donald Roeser - lead guitar, vocals
  • Andy Winters - bass


Year Chart Position
1972 Billboard 200 (United States) 172[1]


  1. ^ a b "Blue Öyster Cult Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on November 12, 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  2. ^ Perry, Shawn (1997). "The Eric Bloom Interview". Archived from the original on July 20, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Hern, Raoul; ez; 4:20PM; Aug. 9, Wed; 2017. "Buck Dharma in the 21st Century!". Retrieved 2019-04-17.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "A Justice Story". Newsday. September 6, 1970. p. S29. Retrieved May 30, 2019 – via
  5. ^ Schieber, Curtis (July 9, 2017). "Blue Oyster Cult: Veteran rockers display sophistication". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  6. ^ Swartz, John (December 10, 2001). "BOC FAQ". Version 3.3. AOL. Archived from the original on February 6, 2002. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  7. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Blue Öyster Cult - Blue Öyster Cult review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  8. ^ "Blue Öyster Cult: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 22, 2019 – via
  10. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (October 2003). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 1: The Seventies. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-1894959025.
  11. ^ Rock, Classic (15 April 2019). "Blue Oyster Cult: Blue Oyster Cult - Album Of The Week Club review". Loudersound. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  12. ^ C. Strong, Martin. Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Canongate. ISBN 1841955515.
  13. ^ Bangs, Lester (March 30, 1972). "Album Reviews: Blue Oyster Cult – Blue Oyster Cult". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 19, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  14. ^ "Blue Öyster Cult (Advertisement)". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (108): 11. May 11, 1972.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 2, 1972). "Consumer Guide (24)". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Spence D.; Ed T. (September 14, 2011). "Top 25 Metal Albums – Music Feature at IGN". IGN. Archived from the original on July 14, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  17. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). "Blue Oyster Cult (1972; CBS)". The Rough Guide to Rock. London, UK. pp. 92. ISBN 1-85828-201-2. Heavy metal for people who hate heavy metal; sleek, primal rock and roll music, filtered through unsettling, if thrilling, images of Altamont, drug-dealing and murder.