Originally published on YouTube on October 19, 2014.
“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult is not only one of my own personal favorite heavy metal songs, but is among those selected by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the Top 500 rock songs of all time. The song is not only a romanticizing about Death’s inevitability, and his personification as the Grim Reaper, but also about premature death, suicide and eternal love (“Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity”). The song and the album it appeared on, “Agents Of Fortune,” came out in time for October and Halloween 1976. At that time there was a mysterious illness called Legionnaire’s disease and a swine flu epidemic scare in progress in the United States. The entire US population had to be vaccinated against swine flu, myself included, beginning on October 1, 1976. The scare was unwarranted and the vaccine caused more deaths and illnesses from side effects than the disease it was intended to protect everyone against. I always thought the lyrics of “Reaper,” along with its wild and scary lead guitar solo in the middle part, was especially ironic given the almost apocalyptic mood of the time. October 1976 was also a rather interesting month musically for rock music in that a few other songs appropriate for the Halloween season were also popular at the same time as Blue Oyster Cult’s masterpiece: these include “Magic Man” by Heart and “Devil Woman” by Cliff Richard, as well as the rather weird TV music video with a vampire in it by George Harrison, created for his song “Crackerbox Palace” (which would not be released as a single until early 1977). In October 1978, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” would enter the world of cinema as the rock song playing on the car radio being driven through the town of Haddonfield, Illinois by Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes) with her friend Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in the unforgettable film classic “Halloween.”
In any event, here is my music video, one possible interpretation out of doubtlessly many others, of one of the great legends of Halloween classic songs, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. Have a Happy Halloween!!!