Don’t Fear the Reaper

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Something for the weekend.  Don’t Fear the Reaper (1976) by Blue Oyster Cult.  Ever find a song so catchy that you like it even if you find the lyrics appalling?  That is me and this paean to suicide that was popular when I was a sophomore in college.  Of course perhaps I can be excused because I was 19 at the time and it was in the midst of that vast musical desert known as the Seventies.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962 )

    Public schools and the banishment of prayer therein.

    Law of vacuum…..enter the wave of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.

    I miss Paul Harvey’s broadcasts.
    His prophetic noon day messages are spot on today.

    It doesn’t surprise me that free love, cheap drugs and the death of the “establishment,” have brought the US to a depravity that only Satan can imagine.
    60 million aborted children and counting.
    Trans-homosexual pride.
    Children killing children in public with iron and bullets.

    Oh yeah. Women who are obedient never make history….what a sick joke.

    Rock on walking dead liberals…
    Enjoy “your heaven” now because the grim reaper has a special bed ready for you. One you helped create.

  2. JFK, the only thing to like about 70s music is that it led me to listen to Opera broadcast from the Met on Saturdays, thence everywhere.

  3. Blue Oyster Cult has a song titled “Godzilla” with a hard driving musical line and far less questionable lyrics. It is available on YouTube:
    *

  4. The schlock of the Seventies was on AM radio. The better stuff was on FM. It is worth noting that music began to disappear from AM around 1980…a long time ago, but not so long for me.

  5. Of course perhaps I can be excused because I was 19 at the time and it was in the midst of that vast musical desert known as the Seventies.

    About 15 years ago, we sent away for a set of CDs produced by Time-Life which retailed the commercial music of various short spans of time, including the vocal music which was the top seller for the first 10 years after the war. If you’ve got your head filled with Sinatra, Dean Martin, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole, Dinah Shore, Jo Sfafford, Peggy Lee, and Rosemary Clooney, please be advised there was also a river of shlock. It’s the same deal with the commercial music of the 1970s, and I would be so sure that the proportion which merits a listed 40 years later is any lower than what was on the radio in 1948.

  6. “there was also a river of shlock.”

    True of all musical periods Art. The problem is that the shlock of the Sixties and the Seventies keep getting recycled, something that most of us encounter continually in the frozen in time boomer hymns that dominate the playlists at Mass in this country.

  7. “Ever find a song so catchy that you like it even if you find the lyrics appalling?”

    Yes. In my case, it’s John Lennon’s “Imagine”. As I’ve explained before, I view it as Lennon’s severely misguided attempt to, pardon the pun, imagine what an un-fallen world would be like. In the absence of original sin, there might be “no heaven” because earth would be heaven; there would be “no hell below us”; “no religion” in the sense of something people had to consciously struggle to practice (love and reverence of God would come naturally as breathing); there would be “no countries” and “nothing to kill or die for,” and maybe even “no possessions” in the sense of people needing to claim material things for themselves. The melody evokes that longing very effectively IMO; the problem was Lennon assuming that this state could be achieved by human effort.

  8. something that most of us encounter continually in the frozen in time boomer hymns that dominate the playlists at Mass in this country.

    The problem isn’t the commercial music of the 70s. The problem is your pastor / administrator. We had a disagreeable situation at a parish I attended and laymen on the parish council managed to arrange for a local music professor (who was the director of an early music ensemble on the side) to be hired on contract as an advisor. He resigned in frustration ‘ere long. The pastor behaved as if the music director had a property right to her job and he wasn’t going to give her any instructions. She eventually retired and a young woman with young children was engaged to replace her, perhaps marginally better. When the old gal was there, I took a census of the musical offerings for one five week period. About 85% of the elections were derived from Oregon Catholic Press materials and had been composed after 1965. No one is compelling these people to behave this way. They just don’t care to behave any other way. Which is why I prefer Byzantine-rite congregations.

  9. and maybe even “no possessions”

    When the first Forbes 400 list appeared in 1982, a wag reviewing the list noted that one of the largest fortunes was held by Yoko Ono, “widow of John ‘Imagine No Possessions’ Lennon:”,

  10. No one is compelling these people to behave this way.

    More’s the pity. Then they would at least have the excuse of fore majeure rather than simply being afflicted with invincible bad taste.

  11. John Lennon Imagine? That funeral dirge? “Catchy”? Sorry Elaine, but no.
    I played in a band in those days and Godzilla was one of our numbers. Simple, hard driving, and we all tried to do the Japanese lyrics at the bridge which could have been fake for all we knew. Pig- Latin Japanese maybe. I still find myself muttering it under my breath sometimes.

  12. This was rumored to be about suicide, but it actually deals with the inevitability of death and the belief that we should not fear it. When Dharma wrote it, he was thinking about what would happen if he died at a young age and if he would be reunited with loved ones in the afterlife. Dharma explained in a 1995 interview with College Music Journal: “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.”
    https://www.songfacts.com/facts/blue-oyster-cult/dont-fear-the-reaper
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don't_fear_the_reaper#Background

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