Tyranny and Mutation

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Tyranny and Mutation
Blue Oyster Cult-Tyranny and Mutation.jpg
Studio album by Blue Öyster Cult
Released February 11, 1973
Recorded Columbia Studios, New York City, 1972[1]
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal, psychedelic rock
Length 38:11
Label Columbia
Producer Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman
Blue Öyster Cult chronology
Blue Öyster Cult
Tyranny and Mutation
Secret Treaties
Singles from Tyranny and Mutation
  1. "7 Screaming Diz-Busters / Hot Rails to Hell"
    Released: 1973

Tyranny and Mutation (known on the album cover as THE BLVE ÖYSTER CVLT: TYRANNY AND MVTATION) is the second studio album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on February 11, 1973 by Columbia Records.[citation needed]

Composition and songs[edit]

The album was recorded from songs written while touring in support of their eponymous debut album. Blue Öyster Cult continued to develop their style of "intelligent heavy metal" on this record.

"Baby Ice Dog" features lyrics by poet Patti Smith, who would ultimately make several more lyrical contributions to the band's repertoire over their career.[1]

The song "The Red and the Black" is a re-titled, re-recorded version of "I'm on the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" from their previous album. The lyrics are a reference to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


On the LP version, one side had the original black text-on-red background style for the label of side 1 (called "The Black") where side 2 ("The Red") had the opposite – a black background with red text. On the 2001 remasters of this album and of Blue Öyster Cult, this red-on-black style is used on the disc. (Secret Treaties and Agents of Fortune use the black-on-red style.)

Some erroneous lyrics to the song "Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)" were printed in the remastered version of this album and have been propagated through the Internet. The corrected lyrics as supplied by Albert Bouchard are:

  • "that Duke's joint" should be "that juke joint"
  • "A harvester lifts his arms to the rain" should be "A harvest of limbs, of arms and of legs"

On at least one pressing of the album on CD prior to the 2001 Remaster, some of the segues between songs were mispositioned. This affects every track except for the last. Three of them ("O.D.'d on Life Itself" -> "Hot Rails to Hell", "Hot Rails" -> "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" -> "Baby Ice Dog") are minor, but all the other erroneous segues are fairly noticeable and a bit disruptive, especially if listened to in MP3 format or any other format where gaps exist before or after songs.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (B+)[3]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 10/10[4]
Rolling Stone (very favorable)[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[6]

Tyranny and Mutation has been widely praised, and is often considered one of the band's best albums.

The Rolling Stone Album Guide has described the album as "one molten hook after another" and praised the four-song "opening suite" comprising the first side of the album.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one – The Black
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "The Red & the Black"   Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman Bloom 4:20
2. "O.D.'d on Life Itself"   Bloom, A. Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Pearlman Bloom 4:47
3. "Hot Rails to Hell"   J. Bouchard J. Bouchard 5:12
4. "7 Screaming Diz-Busters"   A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard, Donald Roeser, Pearlman Bloom 7:01
Side two – The Red
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
5. "Baby Ice Dog"   Bloom, A. Bouchard, Patti Smith Bloom 3:29
6. "Wings Wetted Down"   A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard J. Bouchard 4:12
7. "Teen Archer"   Bloom, Roeser, Richard Meltzer Roeser 3:57
8. "Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)"   A. Bouchard, Pearlman Bloom 5:08
Total length:


Band members
  • Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman – producers
  • Tim Geelan, Lou Schlossberg, Phil Giambalvo – engineers
  • Jack Ashkinazy – mastering
  • Bruce Dickinson – reissue producer
  • Vic Anesini – re-mastering


Year Chart Position
1973 Billboard 200 (United States) 122[7]


  1. ^ a b c Tyranny and Mutation liner notes (2001 remaster). Columbia Records. 2001. pp. 4, 6–11. 
  2. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Blue Öyster Cult Tyranny and Mutation review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Reviews: Tyranny and Mutation". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (October 2003). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 1: The Seventies. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1894959025. 
  5. ^ Fletcher, Gordon (12 April 1973). "Album Reviews: Blue Oyster Cult – Tyranny and Mutation". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 12 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  6. ^ a b Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 87. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  7. ^ "Tyranny and Mutation Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-25.