Don't fear the Reaper first appeared back in 1976 I think.
It was the main reason I bought the album and discovered the rest of their music. You can listen to the original version here on LastFM.
For me at the time it was a very esoteric rock song, with no particular connotations.
Check out a live version of the song here.
Then Stephen King published The Stand in 1978. At the time I was reading pretty much everything Stephen King put out, and I thought that The Stand was his best. A TV miniseries based on The Stand and scripted by King himself was released in 1994.
But even before that, while reading the book. It was I believe the first chapter that was headed up with:
And it was clear she couldn't go on!
The door was opened and the wind appeared
The candles blew then disappeared
The curtains flew then he appeared,
Said don't be afraid
Come on Mary...
And she ran to him...
And they started to fly....
She had taken his hand...
Come on Mary;
Don't fear the Reaper!
Blue Öyster Cult
From there on in, all the time I was reading the book this song kept creeping back into my mind.
Opening sequence to The Stand.
And so it was indelibly written in my mind, the concept of The Stand and Don't fear the Reaper. They belonged together.
Until Christopher Walken took the song into his hands, and the rest as they say is history. Ask me what I think of when I listen to this song nowadays?
On a final note, I gave up reading Stephen King after, or during, Cujo. Somehow he got lost along the way, or I did.