There’s been a lot of hits from the past that you continue to hear on the radio, but a perennial favorite is “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” from Blue Oyster Cult. The song comes from the band’s 1976 album Agents of Fortune album, where it hit #12 on the Billboard charts and has been around ever since. You’ve probably heard the song hundreds of times, but you’re probably not aware of some of the very interesting things that are going on inside the mix that you don’t readily hear. Pull up some headphones and take a listen to the following.
1. The clean guitar playing the lead riff, which comes in the second time through the riff (which you don’t hear here).
2. This song is famous for its cowbell (thank you Saturday Night Live), but the percussion instrument that really stands out is the guiro (as seen on right).
3. The organ shadows the vocals. Here you can hear the organ leaning to the left, and the low harmony leaning to the right.
4. There’s what sounds like a clavinet playing whole notes in the B section.
5. In the bridge you can hear the doubles of the clean arpeggiated guitar and distorted guitar riff.
6. At the end of the bridge there’s a synth that doubles the feedback guitar (which you can’t hear here).
7. On the outro there’s an new keyboard shadowing the main chord pattern.
8. If you listen to the end, you’ll hear the ending that didn’t make the final mix on the record.
All in all, a very cool version of some buried in the mix isolated backing tracks that will have you listening to the track differently the next time you hear it.