Don’t Fear the Reaper, a Song about Love?

by J-Stacknik

The Best of Blue Oyster Cult: Don't Fear the Reaper was released from Columbia/Legacy in 2000.

The band Blue Oyster Cult recorded this song in 1976 for their album Agents of Fortune. It was written by lead guitarist Donald Roeser, also known as Buck Dharma. There were rumors that the song was about suicide with its archetypal themes. The reaper refers to the Grim Reaper, a traditional personification of death in European folklore. With lyrics such as “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity” it is not surprising that these rumors existed. In actual fact the song is about eternal love, not suicide.

Roeser says “I felt that I had 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 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 love transcends the actual physical existence of the partners.”

The song continues to resonate today and as of 2010 sold approximately 922,000 digital copies in the U.S. It was Blue Oyster Cult’s biggest hit song reaching #12 on the American chart in November 1976 and #16 on the UK pop chart in 1978. It was listed at #405 on the Rolling Stones list of the top 500 songs of all time.

Read more:

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper | Songfacts

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