Tuesday, August 30, 2011

THE ROCK SONG OF THE DAY IS: BLUE OYSTER CULT - DON'T FEAR THE REAPER

Don't Fear The Reaper
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is a song by the rock band Blue Öyster Cult from their 1976 album, Agents of Fortune.

It was written and sung by the band's lead guitarist, Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser and was produced by David Lucas, Murray Krugman, and Sandy Pearlman. It is built around Dharma's guitar riff that opens the song and continues throughout. The edited single version was Blue Öyster Cult's biggest US hit, reaching #12 on the American charts in November 1976, and is listed at #405 on the Rolling Stones list of the top 500 songs of all time. The song's popularity has been long-lasting. As of 2010 it has sold approximately 922,000 digital copies in the United States. It reached #16 on the UK pop chart in 1978. It is a perennial favorite on classic rock radio stations and is a concert staple for the band.

Part of the song's appeal consists in its resonance with archetypal themes. The reaper is a reference to the Grim Reaper, a traditional personification of death in European folklore. Moreover, songs and poetry pairing "Death and the Maiden" date back to the time before the Middle Ages. Lyrics such as "Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity" have led many listeners to interpret the song to be about a murder-suicide pact, but Dharma says the song is about eternal love, not suicide: "I felt that I had just achieved some kind of resonance with the psychology of people when I came up with that, I was actually kind of appalled when I first realized that some people were seeing it as an advertisement for suicide or something that was not my intention at all. It is, like, not to be afraid of it (as opposed to actively bring it about). It's basically a love song where the love transcends the actual physical existence of the partners".

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