Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Forgotten 45: "In Thee"

Blue Oyster Cult came riding out of the expanse of 70s wilderness where prog rock met heavy metal--all the proof you need is that there's supposed to be an umlaut over the "o," and that some of the group's highest-profile fans were science-fiction authors. But when they broke into Top 40 consciousness in 1976, it was with the lush and spooky single "Don't Fear the Reaper." It featured a crankin' guitar solo to keep the band's metalhead credentials intact, although that solo was edited out of the 45 version. No further hit singles followed. ("Godzilla" became an album rock hit in 1977, although it was probably too much for the Top 40 in a year of Debby Boone and "Torn Between Two Lovers.") So for their 1979 release, Mirrors, BOC toned down the sci/fi and metalhead excesses. On "In Thee," they almost turned into the Byrds by accident: jangling acoustic guitars and earnest-sounding vocal harmonies that add up to a kind of seeker-on-the-road vibe straight out of 60s folk-rock. It didn't end up being a smash or anything, but it represents one of the odder stylistic departures of the 1970s. Of course, the year was 1979, so we can be grateful it wasn't a disco tune.

(Columbia 11055, chart peak #74, September 29, 1979)


At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue Oyster Cult's 1980 release, "Cultosaurus Erectus" had some great songs like, "Deadline" and "The Marshall Plan." I really liked their 1981 album, "Fire of Unknown Origin" which included the title track, "Burning For You," and "Joan Crawford." In 1988, they released "Imaginos" which had a minor hit called "Astronomy" which was really good. If the station you were listening to played anything that resembled rock, chances are they were playing some BOC. ---Shark

At 12:23 PM, Blogger jabartlett said...

"Deadline" was the most "Reaper"-like thing they ever recorded. "Black Blade" from that album was pretty cool, too--co-written by sci-fi author Michael Moorcock and featuring some of his characters, apparently.

"Joan Crawford" is an example of something so bad it's good. And the title cut had a great lyric line: "Fire of unknown origin/took my baby away."

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Burnin' For You" actually scraped the bottom of the top 40 in the US.... does anyone remember "Shooting Shark," which came out a few years later? Probably not. -- Dave P.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger jabartlett said...

If anybody remembers "Shooting Shark," it'll be regular commenter Shark.

I'm shure.


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