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A Guide To Blue Oyster Cult's Best... And Worst

by Mike McGuirk

A Guide To Blue Oyster Cult's Best... And Worst


Blue Oyster Cult's tenth album, 1986's Club Ninja, has finally been made available digitally. I say "finally" because this particular album proved impossible for me to find a few years ago when I scoured the local record stores in search of it. My friend Will and I had been invited to DJ a night at a bar -- God knows why, but we decided we'd play only BOC the whole night. Three hours of Blue Oyster Cult. We envisioned people becoming incensed, begging us to play something else, and eventually getting thrown out midway through our set. Don't get me wrong, we were both big fans -- we just figured other people would freak out after awhile.

In the weeks leading up to our big night, Will and I bought every Blue Oyster Cult album we could find -- we even got our hands on singer/guitarist Buck Dharma's solo record, Flat Out, and a compilation of super early stuff from when they were called Soft White Underbelly. But neither of us could find Club Ninja. I remembered the album coming out when I was a sophomore in high school and debating whether or not to buy it. The particularly cheesy cover art (spaceships) and overall crappiness of the title (Club Ninja? What is that?) made BOC seem like old dorks to me, so I passed. Now, years later, I was kicking myself. I mean, how bad could the record be? What if it was really, really bad? Anyway, we didn't find it, and it remained a mystery until this long-awaited (for me, anyway) digital release.

As for our zany DJ night, we were about an hour in, and I was waiting for someone to notice the music was all Blue Oyster Cult. No one did. At one point, this guy in his forties came up to us and said, "Hey man, I haven't heard 'ME 262' in 25 years. Thanks for playing it." Then, like 20 minutes later, he comes up and says, "You're playing all Blue Oyster Cult, aren't you?" That was it. One guy, the whole night. The bartenders didn't even care.

The thing is, Blue Oyster Cult is just too good, and their music is too varied, including songs about WWII, Godzilla, flesh-eating zombies, drugs, falling in love with vampires, Jacques Costeau, the rockingest song ever about Canadian mounties ("The Red and the Black"), etc. BOC can sound like three different bands on one side of a particular album. If you're a newcomer to the band, or if all you've ever heard is "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" and "Burnin' For You," you're gonna want to check out the albums below.