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Sunday, June 18, 2006

ON YOUR FEET OR ON YOUR KNEES

Almost a full year ago I blogged about Blue Oyster Cult - the original umlaut band. I woke up this morning humming 'Cities On Flame'.

"My heart is black, and my lips are cold
Cities on flame with rock and roll
Three thousand guitars they seem to cry
My ears will melt, and then my eyes."

What a great song. Most people know 'Don't Fear The Reaper' (thanks to Will Farrell a whole new generation has been introduced to B.O.C.), and 'Godzilla', maybe 'Burnin' For You', but many of thier best songs are ignored by classic rock radio.

'Then Came The Last Days Of May' is perhaps the greatest B.O.C. song, which along with the forementioned 'Cities On Flame' is on their eponymously titled debut album from 1972.


PC 31063


'Tyranny And Mutation' followed in February of 1973, which contained the manic '7 Screamimg Diz-Busters', and the boogie infested 'The Red And The Black'.

Blue Oyster Cult - Tyranny And Mutation CD


In 1974 they released my personal favorite B.O.C. album, 'Secret Treaties'.


CK 32858


The culmiating three songs at the end of side two (Harvester Of Eyes, Flaming Telepaths, and Astronomy) show the band at what might be called their first creative peak.

'Flaming Telepaths' is my favorite B.O.C. track:

"Well I've opened up my veins too many times
And the poison's in my heart and in my mind
Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride
I'm after rebellion,
I'll settle for lies

Is it any wonder that my mind's on fire
Imprisoned by the thoughts of what you do
Is it any wonder that the joke's an iron
And the jokes on you

Experiments that failed too many times
Transformations that were too hard to find
Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride
I'm after rebellion, I'll settle for lies

Yes I know the secrets of the iron and mind
They're trinity acts - a mineral fire
Yes I know the secrets of the circuitry mind
It's a flaming wonder telepath"

In 1975 B.O.C. released their first Live Lp, 'On Your Feet Or On Your Knees'. The record showcased the band's live set and contained covers of 'Born To Be Wild', and 'I Ain't Got You'.


Blue Oyster Cult - On Your Feet Or On Your Knees CD


'Agents Of Fortune' followed in 1976, unleashing 'Don't Fear The Reaper' on the AOR radio format everywhere.

PC 34164


The album also contained 'E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)', and another of Jackson's personal faves, the ascerbic 'This Ain't The Summer Of Love'.

"Lock all your doors from the outside
The key will dangle by the inside
You may begin to understand
That this is the night we ride

This ain't the garden of eden
There ain't no angels above
And things ain't like what they used to be
And this ain't the summer of love"

1977 brought us 'Spectres', and with it came 'Godzilla'.


JC 35019


As usual, however, 'Spectres' also contained a masterpice that quite likely is one of the greatest acheivements in Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, the epic 'Golden Age Of Leather'


By 1978 B.O.C. was showing signs of road weariness which is exemplified by the lackluster live LP 'Some Enchanted Evening'. A limp version of 'Kick Out The Jams' did little to help this poorly recorded record. It sold very well anyway.


JC 35563


'Mirrors' followed in 1979 and heralded the end of the golden age of B.O.C.


Blue Oyster Cult - Mirrors CD

Don't bother.

Another weak effort came our way in 1980. The aptly titled 'Cultasaurus Erectus' did feature one good song though, 'Balck Blade'.


JC 36550


Blue Oyster Cult did have another great record in them - one more to be precise. 1981's masterpeice 'Fire Of An Unknown Origin' would prop the band back up for a brief period in the early eighties. Certainly another creative peak, but the band blew their load on this one, and subsequent releases would never match the glory of this or any previous release.


FC 37389


'Fire Of Unknown Origin' is a complete work. There aren't any bad songs - a feat never acheived by B.O.C. before or after. 'Burnin' For You' would provide the band with their last top ten hit, but the fun doesn't stop there. 'Heavy Metal (Black and Silver)', the title track, 'Joan Crawford', 'Soul Survivor', 'Vengence, The Pact', and 'Veteran Of Psychic Wars' fill out an impressive LP from a band thought at the time to be basically over.

B.O.C. would break up a few short years later, purportedly after viewing Spinal Tap. Later incarnations featuring either Eric Bloom or Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser but not both would make attempts at reclaiming their past glories, but never to any real effect.

But that's okay, we still got the records - and Will Farrell.

Comments:
Very nice piece. 'Fire of Unknown Origin' was written to be the entire sound track to the 'Heavy Metal’ movie. The band was crushed when only two of their songs were picked, this along with many other events, to similar to the events in the spinal tap movie, led to there demise
 
Man it took me forever to find a CD copy of that first Cult album. I've been digging that Last Days of May tune since you first played it for me during our Podcast. I'm going to hunt down a couple of the others now that you reminded me of them.
 
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