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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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.