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)