Throwback Thursday: July 31, 2014

Happy Thursday, metalheads! For this week’s #TBT, we’re going to pay a kind of tribute to a classic hard rock (/…I guess you could call it proto-metal?) song on its birthday. Folks, somehow, Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” was first released as a single 38 years ago today. That’s right–THIRTY EIGHT. And while I’ve always been more into some of their other songs like “Burnin’ for You” or “Godzilla,” this simply wasn’t an occasion I felt I could ignore. After all, it’s an iconic tune on a number of different levels–among (unnecessarily parenthesized) song titles, among harmonized heavy metal guitar fans, and among tracks with awesome use of cowbell.

And it’s that last one that inspires this particular Throwback Thursday post. Since, as per usual, we need a classic look-back video of some sort, I’m going to wish “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” a happy birthday in the most obvious way possible–by revisiting the classic Saturday Night Live sketch, “More Cowbell,” which depicts a fictionalized version of this song’s studio recording sessions. Check it out here:

What can you say about this? It’s one of SNL‘s most beloved and endlessly-quoted sketches in recent memory. It’s got Christopher Walken and a complete “who’s who” lineup of late-90s/early-00’s SNL cast members–Chris Kattan, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Parnell…

…and, of course, Will Ferrell.

I don’t think I’d be terribly off-base if I argued that this sketch is one of Ferrell’s Top…maybe 4 or 5 character performances ever. (Ron Burgundy and Mugatu would be in there…not sure exactly what I’d pick for the remaining two, but his fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle would definitely be among them on my list) The dude just TAKES OVER here. I’m not sure how any of the rest of the cast managed to keep a straight face when they filmed this thing–let alone Walken, who remains stone-faced throughout. Ferrell apparently wrote the sketch too, only adding to his status as show legend.

So that’s our #TBT for this week. Happy birthday to “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” and for gods sake, go out and get some more cowbell!

-Dan

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.

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