Blue Öyster Cult‘s lead vocalist Buck Dharma opened up about the true meaning behind their song ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ in a recently surfaced interview in Music Radar. He noted that it was about eternal love, not suicide, unlike popular opinion.
‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ was written by Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser, lead guitarist of Blue Öyster Cult. He was also the one who sang the main vocals on the track. For over 45 years, ‘(Don’t Fear), The Reaper’ still stands as one of classic rock’s greatest tributes to eternal love. The track peaked at number 12 on the US Hot 100 for 20 weeks and broke into the UK top 20 two years later.
The song’s success helped establish Blue Öyster Cult as one of the US mainstream bands of the late ’70s. In addition to their fame, their songs appearing in numerous movies and TV shows have helped the band stand the test of time.
Even 45 years later, the song has remained a classic. Dharma noted that as their fans listened to the song, they usually linked the lyrics to suicide. However, he added that the song was actually about eternal love and the afterlife. He talked about the idea of one of the partner’s death and that, eventually, the lovers will meet in the afterlife.
Buck Dharma‘s words on Blue Öyster Cult’s song ‘The Reaper’:
“It’s a love story that transcends the death of one of the partners, and then they get back together again in another plain. It’s not about suicide; although I can see how people can think that, that’s not where it’s at. It just imagines that there is an afterlife and that lovers will be reunited. Dying is a part of life, so don’t fear it; just know that it’s there for everybody, and it just happens at different times.”
Dharma still tours regularly with the group, of which he has been a member since 1967. They are currently on tour and have dates set for both the US and UK.
You can listen to the song on Youtube below.