"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is a song by the rock band Blue Öyster Cult from their 1976 album, Agents of Fortune. It was written and sung by the band's lead guitarist, Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, produced by Sandy Pearlman, and is built around Dharma's guitar riff that opens the song and continues throughout. The edited single version was Blue Öyster Cult's biggest US hit, reaching #12 on the American charts in November 1976. The song's popularity also proved to be very long-lasting there, as of 2010 it has sold approximately 922,000 digital copies. It reached #16 on the UK pop chart in 1978.
In spite of the Saturday Night Live skit featuring Christopher Walken, Bruce Dickinson did not produce "(Don't Fear) The Reaper". The track was actually produced by Sandy Pearlman.
Part of the song's appeal consists in its resonance with archetypal themes. The reaper is a reference to the Grim Reaper, a traditional personification of death in European folklore. Moreover, songs and poetry pairing "Death and the Maiden" date back to the time before the Middle Ages. Lyrics such as "Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity" have led many listeners to interpret the song to be about a...