Contact Us

41 Years Ago: Blue Oyster Cult Release ‘Secret Treaties’

Columbia

When Long Island, N.Y.’s Blue Oyster Cult released Secret Treaties in April 1974, their future standing as bona fide hard rock legends was anything but guaranteed. But it certainly helped that the band’s third album (and final installment in their so-called “black and white” triptych) happened to be their best effort yet — by far.

Their sophomore outing, Tyranny and Mutation, had undoubtedly paid off on some of the tenuous promises made by the group’s eponymous debut. But its inconsistent songwriting and sheer aesthetic schizophrenia clearly revealed the band’s lingering directional uncertainty.

Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Allen Lanier, Joe and Albert Bouchard had clearly still been searching for their identity, and most people would agree that Secret Treaties is where they truly found it. Their songwriting abilities had improved enough to let them carry on exploring a relatively varied range of musical styles and lyrical themes within a mostly heavy rock framework.

And they had some talented friends helping them out, too. Punk queen-in-waiting Patti Smith penned the words for the new LP’s irresistible opener, “Career of Evil,” while another literary pal, pioneering rock critic Richard Meltzer, provided lyrics for the unapologetic “Cagey Cretins” and the downright creepy “Harvester of Eyes.” (Both lyricists had already lent some help on Tyranny and Mutation).

Elsewhere, band manager Sandy Pearlman handled the bulk of B.O.C’s cryptic wordplay, but it was the aforementioned quintet of musicians who crafted the all-important, increasingly accomplished songs supporting them — including future concert favorites like the hard driving “Dominance and Submission” and the astonishingly finessed, piano-led “Astronomy.”

Perhaps best of all, though, Secret Treaties was the first LP by them that was truly filler-free thanks to sturdy album tracks like Bloom’s ominous “Subhuman,” the beefed-up, turbo-charged ’50s rock of “ME 262,” and the dynamic and dramatic “Flaming Telepaths,” featuring particularly stunning leads from six-string hero Buck Dharma.

All of which catapulted Secret Treaties to a gold certification by the RIAA and elevated Blue Oyster Cult to arena headliners for the year-long touring that soon followed — later commemorated by the first of many live albums, On Your Feet or On Your Knees.

By the time the band began working on their fourth studio album, Agents of Fortune, in late 1975, they’d struck a secret treaty with hard rock fans everywhere and established a momentum that would keep them roaring right through the ’70s.

See Blue Oyster Cult and Other Rockers in the Top 50 Heavy Metal Albums

Criminally Underrated Rock Albums

Next: Top 10 Blue Oyster Cult Songs

Best of WBLM

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://wblm.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for 102.9 WBLM quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive 102.9 WBLM contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.