Sad news for fans of one of the greatest hard-rock bands of all time.
Allen Lanier, founding keyboardist-guitarist for Blue Öyster Cult, died yesterday after being hospitalized with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which restricts breathing and is caused by damage to the lungs over many years, most often from smoking.
Apart from a couple of years in the mid-'80s, Lanier was a member of the Long Island group for four decades, from 1967 (when it was called Soft White Underbelly) through 2007.
“My great friend Allen Lanier has passed," wrote B.Ö.C. singer-guitarist Eric Bloom on his Facebook page. "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 wrote a number of songs for the band, including "In Thee", which was sung by lead-guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser on the 1979 Mirrors album.
Another of Lanier's finest compositions was "Tenderloin", which Bloom sang on Agents of Fortune, the 1976 album that included the band's biggest hit, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper".
As a composer, Lanier was most prolific on Blue Öyster Cult's self-titled 1972 debut album, on which he was credited with cowriting four tracks, including "Redeemed", "She's as Beautiful as a Foot", "Before the Kiss, a Redcap", and my personal fave, "Workshop of the Telescopes".
Lanier is survived by his wife Dory, sister Mary Anne, and mother Martha. A post on Blue Öyster Cult's website announcing his passing ends with the words: "DFTR sweet man. We love you and miss you."