RIP Allen Lanier

Allen Lanier, keyboard player and guitarist for Blue Öyster Cult has passed away at the age of 66. As reported on the Blue Oyster Cult Official Web Site.

We have extremely sad news to report. We’ve lost our friend and bandmate Allen Lanier.

Allen succumbed to complications from C.O.P.D. He is survived by his wife Dory, sister Mary Anne and mother Martha.

Although he retired from touring in 2006 Allen returned to the stage for what turned out to be his final appearance, reuniting with BÖC at the 40th Anniversary show in New York this past November.

DFTR sweet man. We love you and miss you.

Allen Lanier was one of those unsung heroes of rock; not the charismatic frontman or the flashy lead guitarist but the skilled multi-instrumentalist who made a significant contribution to the band’s sound, swapping back and forth between keyboards and guitar. His playing was understated but effective, adding a lot of colour to their sound. On keys he wasn’t a lead player in the style of Jon Lord or Ken Hensley, but he came up with some impressive playing when the need arose, with spooky organ sounds and some great jazz-inflected piano runs. That spectacular classically-flavoured into to “Joan Crawford” from Fire of Unknown Origin is something that stands out.

While never as prolific a songwriter as Buck Dharma or Albert Bouchard, he nevertheless contributed some interesting songs over the years, including the single “In Thee” from Mirrors, and the excellent “Tenderloin” from Agents of Fortune. The one time he sang lead for the band was aother of his own songs, “True Confession”, the song immediately preceding “Don’t Fear The Reaper” on Agents of Fortune.

Allen had been in poor health for some time. Indeed the last time I saw Blue Öyster Cult while he was an official touring member of the band they played the gig as a four-piece because he was too unwell to perform.

Even though I never got to see the original lineup of the band, I did get to see Allen on stage with them on a number of occasions, the first being at Hammersmith Odeon in 1989, the last being at the Live Café in Manchester in 2003, both superb gigs with Allen on good form.

Rest in peace. Allen

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