In the summer of 1977, Blue Oyster Cult found itself in one of the trickiest situations for a rock band: recording the follow-up to a breakthrough hit.
After steadily releasing an album a year throughout the decade, the classic song ?(Don?t Fear) The Reaper? had finally given the band its first hit single in 1976, reaching #12, while the album the song appeared on, Agents of Fortune, reached #29.
?Agents of Fortune was huge for us,? agrees Eric Bloom, a founding guitarist/singer with BOC. ?It kicked us into headlining our own tours in coliseums. And, of course, we were hoping to repeat that success. But you don?t know if you?re going to repeat it. You can only try.?
As it happens, the follow-up album, Spectres, was only a modest success, reaching #43. ?There was no real hit on Spectres,? Bloom concedes, ?but it did very well. It was a gold record and had some good material on it.?
And now, it has even more, as it?s joined the collection of BOC?s expanded reissues on Columbia/Legacy, with four previously unreleased bonus tracks added to the recent reissue.
And Spectres was released alongside an even more expanded reissue of the 1978 live album Some Enchanted Evening; the two-disc set has seven previously unreleased tracks on the CD, while the DVD, named ?Some OTHER Enchanted Evening,? features a previously unreleased concert shot in Landover, Md., in 1978.
Both albums capture BOC at a high point in the band?s career, a time when ?we were flush with the success of having a platinum record, which we?d never had before,? says Bloom. ?So we were thrilled; a bunch of young guys just trying to take the world by the ass, you know??
And while there wasn?t a ?Reaper? on Spectres, there were crowd-pleasers like ?Godzilla,? stompers like ?R.U. Ready 2 Rock? and eerie voyages to the dark side in ?Nosferatu.?
The record company left the band to its own devices while recording the album.
?There was nobody breathing down our necks,? Bloom confirms. ?But certainly amongst ourselves we said, ?What can we do to take our success and double it?? And, of course, you can only write what you can write; you gotta hope that you have something on there that people like as much as what you did before.?
Bloom?s sole contribution to the album was the hooky, pop-flavored ?Goin? Through the Motions,? co-written with Ian Hunter, whom he?d met when BOC toured with Mott the Hoople.
?He asked if I had a studio in the house,? Bloom explains, ?and I had a little four-track studio. And he said, ?Why don?t we kick around some ideas, see if we can come up with something?? So we did, and that was the result.?
The bonus tracks were discovered when the original tapes were dug out for the reissue.
?They?re fun to listen to,? says Bloom. ?The cover of ?Be My Baby? I thought was a lot of fun. Though Buck [Dharma, guitarist/vocalist] and I were talking about it, and my recollection is different than his. I remember we were taking a lunch break during the sessions, and I said, ?Why don?t we go out in the studio and put this down quick?? It was a song we did in clubs years before. And he thought it was from the pre-production sessions, a rehearsal tape.?
The other bonus tracks, ?Night Flyer,? ?Dial M For Murder? and ?Please Hold? were leftovers.
?A lot of songs would go by the wayside,? says Bloom. ?You just couldn?t get as many songs on a vinyl album. So, songs were stopped sometimes mid-session, like, ?These songs are not going to make it, let?s not even put bass or drums on them.? There was no vocal on ?Night Flyer,? so Buck did that recently, cause there was no vocal on it from the ’70s.?
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