On January 16, 1972, the debut eponymous album of the "Blue Öyster Cult" was released.
The band established in 1967 as "Soft White Underbelly", was founded by guitarist Donald Roeser and drummer Albert Bouchard. The band's initial name came from the nickname Winston Churchill gave to Italy during World War II, when he defined it as the "soft underbelly" of the Germany-Italy-Japan axis of evil.
Music critic Sandy Pearlman heard them play at Stony Brook University in Long Island, where the band was formed and offered to be their manager and promote them. The band agreed and Perlman became much more than that. He produced the band's albums and even helped write some of its songs, until 1995.
In 1971 and after several lineup and name changes, the band changed its name to "Blue Öyster Cult", a name given to it by Perlman ("The Oyster Man") under the influence of a song he wrote. Perlman saw the American answer to "Black Sabbath" before his eyes (hence the title of the band's name also includes the color "blue").
The lineup that recorded the band's debut album was also its most successful one, creating and releasing its major albums including: "Tyranny and Mutation", "Secret Treaties" and "Agents of Fortune". The band members were: Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser on lead guitar and vocals, Eric Bloom on guitar and vocals, Allen Lanier on keyboards, guitar and vocals, Joe Bouchard on bass and vocals and Albert Bouchard on drums and percussion.
This album was critically acclaimed and included some of the band's greatest songs that were played in its performances throughout the band's 50 year career.
The opening song "Transmaniacon MC", was influenced by the "Altamont" festival held in 1969, with the letters "MC" representing the acronym "Motorcycle Club".
The track "Then Came the Last Days of May" is based on a true story that happened to two of Buck Dharma's friends, who were murdered during a drug deal.
The song "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" was written by Perlman, Roger and Albert Bouchard who also serves here as the lead singer. The riff of the song reminds us of "The Wizard" riff by "Black Sabbath".
The riff of the song "Stairway to the Stars" reminds us a bit of that of the song "La Grange" which "ZZ Top" will release a year later.
This album was a great opening shot for a band that will only get better on their next albums, with songs like "Godzilla" and "Astronomy" that "Metallica" will cover and of course its two greatest hits "Don't Fear (The Reaper)" and "Burnin' For You".
And how gratifying is it when on October 9, 2020 this excellent band was back with a new and excellent album after a break of two decades "The Symbol Remains".
For Listening: Spotify