Blue Oyster Cult Founding Keyboardist/Guitarist Allen Lanier Dead at 67

Allen Lanier, a founding member of Blue Oyster Cult, has died at 67 after being hospitalized with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the band’s Facebook page.

“DFTR sweet man,” reads the post — an obvious reference to the band’s biggest hit, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” (See the live video below). “We love you and miss you.”

Lanier, who was best known as a keyboardist with the band, also was an accomplished guitar player.

Except for a two-year absence in the 1980s, Lanier was a member of Blue Oyster Cult beginning with their inception in 1967 until his retirement in 2006. He co-wrote several BOC songs, including “Tenderloin,” “True Confessions” and “Lonely Teardrops.” Lanier also contributed to music by Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, the Dictators and the Clash, among others. He dated Smith for several years during the ’70s.

Lanier joined his former bandmates in New York late last year (November 2012) during a concert commemorating the release of a career-spanning box set by Blue Oyster Cult.

According to WebMd, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a lung disease that restricts breathing, “caused by damage to the lungs over many years, usually from smoking.”

BOC singer Eric Bloom paid tribute to Lanier on his personal Facebook page. Here’s that statement:

“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, who was born June 25, 1946, lived in New York City.


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  • bonesaw69

    My Older Brother brought home Tyranny And Mutation when it came out, put it on the turntable and I was blown away..became an instant fan and saw them in concert for the first time a little while after that. I saw them several times again over the years and they wewr always amazing.Allen was a great Musician and by all accounts a great guy. RIP fellow musician condolences to all his family and friends.

    • Jeff

      From one musician (guitar…44yrs) to another…AMEN BROTHER!!!

  • Tom

    I have been a die-hard BOC fan for many, many years and this is truly a sad moment! My favorite memory of him was at a place Called Tuxedo Junction in CT. There was no back entrance and the whole band had to come in and leave with everyone else. They had to go through the crowd to get to and from the stage! I have a denim jacket with an engraved BOC and Chaos symbol (the band’s brand). Allen was kind enough to not only take the time to autograph my jacket, but talk to me for a brief period of time. By the way, his is the coolest signature! He finished it off with the BOC symbol as part of his moniker.
    rest In Peace Allen!

  • Stephanie Costa

    RIP Allen, you will be missed. BOC was a large part of my youth!

  • Elora Mackem

    The greatest tribute that I can play to AL is that Agents of Fortune was in the CD player the day he died. Spectres is in the CD player in the car and his music lives forever in my heart as it has done for the last 40 years. The last few years must have been rough for Allen and his family. Rest in peace man. My favourite band when I was 16 years old are still my favourite band at 52.