Sandy Pearlman Dead, Longtime Blue Öyster Cult Producer

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Blue Oyster Cult Agents of Fortune

Agents of Fortune, Blue Öyster Cult’s biggest studio album, yielded their huge hit, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

Sandy Pearlman, best known as the producer of Blue Öyster Cult’s most important recordings, has reportedly died. According to Facebook posts by several associates, Pearlman, 72, passed away early Tuesday morning (July 26, 2016) in Marin County, California. A cause of death was not specified, however it is known that he suffered a serious head injury in a fall in December. A GoFundMe page was set up at the time to help with Pearlman’s medical expenses but he took a turn for the worse last week and had been hospitalized with multiple infections at the time of his passing.

Pearlman served as producer (or co-producer) of seven of BÖC’s studio albums and four live sets, beginning with their self-titled 1972 debut as well as such classic rock landmarks as Secret Treaties, On Your Feet or On Your Knees and Agents of Fortune. The latter included BÖC’s highest-charting and most fondly remembered single, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” a #12 hit in 1976 and still a radio staple today. Pearlman also co-managed the band from 1967-95 and contributed songwriting to the band.

In addition to his work with Blue Öyster Cult, Pearlman also produced the first three albums by the Dictators and the second by the Clash, 1978’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope, as well as numerous other recordings.

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Samuel C. Pearlman was born on August 8, 1943, and grew up in Rockaway, New York. He attended Stony Brook University on Long Island and, in 1967, assembled a rock band he dubbed Soft White Underbelly. That same year, Pearlman also became a rock critic for the seminal Crawdaddy! magazine but as the popularity of Soft White Underbelly increased—helped along by the name change to Blue Öyster Cult—he cast his lot with them, getting the group signed to Columbia Records and guiding them to success. (Pearlman would go on to manage several other bands, including the Dictators and Black Sabbath, the latter from 1979-83.)

By the ’80s, Pearlman had become a multi-faceted entrepreneur, operating recording studios and record companies. In the late ’90s he served as the vice-president of e-music.com, an early site for legal music downloading. He was also involved in teaching, offering music technology-related courses at McGill University in Montreal and the University of Toronto, and serving as a visiting professor and lecturer at other institutions.

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