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How Blue Öyster Cult came up with their band name

Blue Öyster Cult


How Blue Öyster Cult came up with their band name

Blue Öyster Cult was formed in Long Island, New York back in 1967 and became known for classic albums like “Agents of Fortune” (1976), “Spectres” (1977) and “Fire of Unknown Origin” (1981). They have sold an estimated amount of more than 25 million records worldwide and are one of the most beloved American Classic Rock bands.


They are known not only for their unique sound but also for lyrics that often talked about the supernatural and of course they have a perfect band name for that. But how did the group come up with the name Blue Öyster Cult and what does it means?

How Blue Öyster Cult came up with their band name and what it means

Although the band was formed in 1967, they were originally called Soft White Underbelly until 1971. After that they still had other names like Santos Sisters but they eventually chose Blue Öyster Cult. That name came from a song written by the music journalist, songwriter and music producer Sandy Pearlman.

The band’s guitarist and singer Buck Dharma recalled that in an interview with Produce Like a Pro in 2022. “(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) It was a song title. Sandy Pearlman, one of the first Rock critics, when Rock started being written about seriously, he wanted to be an artist himself. He couldn’t sing or play. But he just knew everything about music itself.”

“He wrote songs, he wrote lyrics. We heard him playing in a house where college students all stayed in. One of those houses where there’s eight students sharing six bedrooms, that kind of thing.”

“The Blue Öyster Cult in the song, as far as the song goes, was a race of imaginary amphibious beings that lived along a shoreline. They rescued a sailor who washed up on the shore and restored him to health,” Buck Dharma said.

Sandy Pearlman wrote with them and also produced the band’s records

Pearlman wrote many songs with the band and even produced some of their albums. He co-produced their self-titled debut album, “Tyranny and Mutation” (1973), “Secret Treaties” (1974), “On Your Feet or on Your Knees” (1975), “Agents of Fortune” (1976), “Spectres” (1977), “Some Enchanted Evening” (1978), “Club Ninja” (1985) and “Imaginos” (1988). He also work with other artists like The Clash, The Dictators and The Mahavishnu Orchestra.

In an interview with MoPop, Dharma said the group liked the name because they wanted to create a sort of mystique around them. “Blue Öyster Cult is a song title, actually, of one of Sandy’s songs. And its part of a larger song cycle called ‘The Soft Doctrines of Imaginos’. (That track) is basically a sort of a docu-drama of history of Western Civilization history. (It) starts in the late 1700s in England and arcs across to World War II.”

“When we decided to be Blue Öyster Cult we sort of invented a mythology for ourselves. We almost wanted to be kind of mysterious. You had to have a legend, you know what I’m saying?” Buck Dharma said.

The band is still active and has two original members: Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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