R.I.P. Blue Öyster Cult’s Allen Lanier


Allen Lanier, left, and Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, circa 1977

Allen Lanier, a founding member and multi-instrumentalist with classic rock band Blue Öyster Cult, has died after a lengthy battle with the lung disease COPD, the group announced on Wednesday. He was 67.

In a statement on their website, the band wrote, “DFTR sweet man. We love and miss you.” “DFTR” is a reference to Blue Öyster Cult‘s biggest hit, 1976’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”.

Lead singer Eric Bloom posted the following:[5]

My great friend Allen Lanier has passed. I’ll miss the guy even though we hadn’t spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker. He read voraciously, all kinds of things, especially comparative religion. We drove for years together, shared rooms in the early days. We partied, laughed, played. All BOC fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized with C.O.P.D. It was Allen who heard some old college band tapes of mine and suggested I get a shot as the singer in 1968. A lot of great memories, over 40 years worth. Maybe he’s playing a tune with Jim Carroll right now.

Lanier also was Patti Smith‘s longtime boyfriend and played on Smith’s classic albums HorsesEaster, and Radio Ethiopia.


Patti Smith & Allen Lanier

Lanier helped found Blue Öyster Cult, initially under the name Soft White Underbelly, in the late 1960s in Long Island, New York. According to the band’s website, it was Lanier‘s idea to add the umlaut to the band name.

He appeared on all fourteen studio albums released by the band, the most recent being 2001’s “Curse of the Hidden Mirror.” They are perhaps best known for their guitar-driven hits “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” which peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 in 1976, and “Burnin’ For You,” which reached No. 40 in 1981. The group continues to be active with Roeser and Bloom still in the mix.

Lanier left Blue Öyster Cult in 2006, but played one last show with them, a 40th Anniversary celebration last year in New York.


Watch the band perform “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”: