3543. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Heaven 17

Fan video here. The audio has a little too much treble there and it sort of takes away from the quality of the song, but you’ll get the basic idea.

Frankly, there’s no reason to believe that a cover of this Blue Öyster Cult classic by Heaven 17 would be anything but an abomination. I downloaded it more out of curiosity than anything else. It turns out, this might be one of the best cover versions of a song in my library. Far from trying to duplicate the song exactly, Heaven 17 really makes the tune a great dance number.

I’ve come to a deeper understanding of the song as a result of this cover. I’ve always read a certain amount of menace to the original version, but the lyrics are actually very hopeful – death is portrayed as a natural, positive thing. Indeed, it is nothing to be afraid of – its as natural as the seasons, the wind and the rain.

The Heaven 17 version of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” takes this one step further and turns the song into a celebration. One of the most interesting choices is to assign the counter-point vocals to a female chorus, which somehow makes it much more re-assuring.

The rest of the tracks we’re going to examine from Heaven 17 are from the 80’s, but I am glad to know they’re still making decent music and really will try to catch up with more of their recent tracks someday.


3543. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Heaven 17 — 3 Comments

  1. I went and listened to the original track after being underwhelmed by this cover, and to my ears, at least, all they’ve done is sequenced the main riff over a dance beat, vocally not that much different. I do appreciate what they were trying to do, but I think the fell a little short. Skrillex (who I’m not found of) or Deadmau5 what have really done it up tight. Then again, this song is from seven, nigh eight, years ago…

    Also, as covers go, in my humble opinion, this one doesn’t even own a match or a candle to light in comparison to “Hello, I Love” cover by The Cure (yes, I went there), “Get The Party Started?” cover by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, or “Tears of a Clown” cover by The English Beat, to name just a few.

  2. Pingback: Haircut 100 through Hyuna Kim | Teatro Triste del Clown | Teatro Triste del Clown

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *