Secret Treaties

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Secret Treaties
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1974 (1974-04)
Recorded1973 -1974
StudioColumbia 30th Street Studio
(New York City)
GenreHeavy metal[1]
Blue Öyster Cult chronology
Tyranny and Mutation
Secret Treaties
On Your Feet or on Your Knees
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideB[3]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal10/10[4]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[5]
Sputnikmusic4.5/5 stars[6]
Tom HullB[7]

Secret Treaties is the third studio album by American rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released in April 1974 by Columbia.[1]

The album spent 14 weeks in the US album charts, peaking at No. 53.[8] It was certified gold by the RIAA in 1992.[9]

In 1975, a poll of critics of the British magazine Melody Maker voted Secret Treaties the "Top Rock Album of All Time".[1] In 2010, Rhapsody called it one of the all-time best "proto-metal" albums.[10]

All of the songs from the album found their way into BÖC playlists over the following years, except for "Cagey Cretins".[citation needed] It's the only BÖC album that does not feature a track with lead vocals sung by guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser. The band also did not write any of the lyrics to the album, handing that duty to producer Sandy Pearlman, rock critic Richard Meltzer and singer Patti Smith.[11]

Cover art[edit]

The cover, with art by Ron Lesser, depicts the band standing beside and sitting on a German Me-262 fighter aircraft; this scene is inspired by the song of the same name.

While the LP cover has the band name in red (a darker red on the Japanese LP), on the CD it is in lime green.[11]


Lyrics to the lead-off track "Career of Evil" were written by future punk poet Patti Smith, a longtime contributor to the band (and, at the time, girlfriend of BÖC keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Allen Lanier).

A few changes were made to "Career of Evil" on the single version. The vocals are different: only Eric Bloom is heard for most of the song, instead of Bloom and Albert Bouchard singing together. Also, one verse was removed ("Pay me..." to "...kneeling in the rain"). Part of the bridge was changed also, presumably to make the song more acceptable to radio: "do it to your daughter" became "do it like you ought to." The line "I want your wife to be my baby tonight" was changed to "I want your life to be mine, maybe tonight".[citation needed]

The transition between the tracks "Harvester of Eyes" and "Flaming Telepaths" is marked by a piece of classical music played on a music box. Members of the band recall that it was something the sound engineer had found on an unlabeled recording, but they could not identify it. The piece and its composer were uncredited on the album. It has since been identified as an excerpt from a waltz by Ion Ivanovici called Waves of the Danube (Donauwellen). The source of the original recording remains a mystery.[citation needed]

"Career of Evil" was the inspiration for the title of the 2015 novel of the same name written by J.K. Rowling under the pen name Robert Galbraith.[12]

The compilation Don't Fear the Reaper: The Best of Blue Öyster Cult contains a version of "Flaming Telepaths" without the music box intro. The original version with the complete sound effects is found on the compilation Workshop of the Telescopes.[citation needed]

The psychedelic folk group Espers covers "Flaming Telepaths" on their CD The Weed Tree in 2005.[citation needed]

Release history[edit]

In addition the conventional 2 channel stereo version the album was also released in a 4 channel quadraphonic version on LP record and 8-track tape in 1974. The quad LP release was encoded in the SQ matrix system.

The album was reissued on the Super Audio CD format in 2016 by Audio Fidelity. This edition contains both the stereo and quad mixes.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleLyricsMusicLead vocalsLength
1."Career of Evil"Patti SmithAlbert BouchardBloom, A Bouchard3:59
2."Subhuman"Sandy PearlmanEric BloomBloom4:39
3."Dominance and Submission"PearlmanBloom, A. BouchardA. Bouchard5:23
4."ME 262"PearlmanBloom, Donald RoeserBloom4:48
Side two
No.TitleLyricsMusicLead vocalsLength
5."Cagey Cretins"Richard MeltzerA. BouchardBloom, A. Bouchard, Joe Bouchard3:16
6."Harvester of Eyes"MeltzerBloom, RoeserBloom4:42
7."Flaming Telepaths"PearlmanBloom, A. Bouchard, RoeserBloom5:20
8."Astronomy"PearlmanA. Bouchard, J. BouchardBloom6:28
2001 CD remaster bonus tracks
No.TitleLyricsMusicLead vocalsLength
9."Boorman the Chauffeur" (outtake from the Secret Treaties sessions)J. BouchardJ. Bouchard, Murray KrugmanJ. Bouchard3:13
10."Mommy" (outtake from the Secret Treaties sessions)MeltzerBloomBloom3:32
11."Mes Dames Sarat" (outtake from the Secret Treaties sessions)Allen LanierLanierBloom4:07
12."Born to Be Wild" (non LP single)Mars BonfireBonfireBloom3:40
13."Career of Evil" (single version)SmithA. BouchardBloom3:00
Total length:56:07


Band members
  • Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman – producers
  • Tim Geelan, Jerry Smith – engineers
  • Lehman Yates, Lou Schlossberg – recording
  • John Berg – cover design
  • Bruce Dickinson – production (2001 remaster)
  • Thom Cadley – mixing on tracks 10 and 11 (2001 remaster)
  • Vic Anesini – remastering (2001 remaster)



Year Chart Position
1974 Billboard 200 (United States) 53[8]
RPM100 Albums (Canada) 54[13]

Sales certifications[edit]

Year Country Organization Sales
1992 U.S. RIAA Gold (500,000+)[9]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
NME UK Albums of the Year[14] 1974 13
Dave Marsh & Kevin Stein U.S. The Best of the Album Chartmakers by Year: 1974[15] 1981 36
Kerrang! UK The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time[14] 1989 22
Mojo UK Mojo 1000 - The Ultimate CD Buyers Guide[16] 2001 No order
Rolling Stone U.S. The 50 Coolest Records of All Time[14] 2002 47


  1. ^ a b c MOJO Magazine (November 1, 2007). The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion (4 ed.). Canongate Books. p. 334. ISBN 978-1-84767-643-6.
  2. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Blue Öyster Cult - Secret Treaties review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (October 2003). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 1: The Seventies. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-1894959025.
  5. ^ Miller, Jim (June 20, 1974). "Album Reviews: Blue Oyster Cult - Secret Treaties". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 28, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Davis, Robert. "Blue Öyster Cult - Secret Treaties". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  7. ^ Hull, Tom (April 1975). "The Rekord Report: Second Card". Overdose. Retrieved June 26, 2020 – via
  8. ^ a b "Secret Treaties Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "RIAA Searchable Database - search for Blue Oyster Cult". RIAA. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  10. ^ Farrar, Justin (June 22, 2010). "Classic Rock Crate Digger: 10 Essential Proto-Metal Albums". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on July 3, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Secret Treaties (CD Booklet). Blue Öyster Cult. New York City: Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings. 2001. pp. 5–11. 502236 2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  12. ^ Sims, Andrew (April 24, 2015). "J.K. Rowling's third Cormoran Strike novel titled 'Career of Evil' arrives this fall". Hypable. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  13. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 21, No. 16, June 08 1974". Library and Archives Canada. June 8, 1974. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c "Blue Öyster Cult – Secret Treaties". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  15. ^ "The Dave Marsh Lists". Book Of Rock Lists - Albums Of The Year: 1976. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  16. ^ "Mojo 1000 - The Ultimate CD Buyers Guide". Mojo. Retrieved October 25, 2012.