There’s sad news to report with the column today, dear readers. Allen Lanier, long-time keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for rock outfit Blue Öyster Cult (and a founding member from their early days as Soft White Underbelly), died yesterday of complications from C.O.P.D. He was 67 years old.
I was, in no small way, obsessed with the Blue Öyster Cult as a youngster, when they served as my first significant introduction to 70s rock, and while my love for the group may have cooled over the intervening years I still hold their work in high regard. Their first three studio albums in particular, released in the years before their star-making 1976 effort Agents of Fortune, stand in my mind as some of the very best of their kind. Of those none is better than 1973’s Tyranny and Mutation, whose off-kilter sensibility still hooks me like little else in the annals of classic rock.
Shared here from that album is B-side Teen Archer, in which Lanier’s keyboard work is deservedly featured. Tyranny and Mutation is out in CD and Mp3 editions through the usual outlets, and Amazon currently lists the physical album (with AutoRip Mp3) for a whopping $3.99.