Nazareth are a British rock band that had several hard rock hits, as well as scoring with the Felice and Boudleaux Bryant penned ballad, Love Hurts, in the middle of the 1970s.
Nazareth was formed in December 1968 in Dunfermline, Scotland, out of the ashes of semi-professional local group The Shadettes (formed in 1961) by vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton (ex Mark V and The Red Hawks), bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet. They took their name from the first line of The Band’s classic song,
The Weight (I pulled into Nazareth / Was feelin’ about half past dead…).
The band moved to London, England in 1970, and released their self-titled debut album in 1971. After getting some attention with their second album Exercises, released in 1972, Nazareth issued Razamanaz in early 1973. This collection spawned two UK Top Ten hits, Broken Down Angel and Bad Bad Boy. This was followed by Loud ‘N’ Proud in late 1973, which contained another hit single with a hard-rocking cover of Joni Mitchell’s song This Flight Tonight. Then came another album Rampant, in 1974, that was equally successful although it did not yield a single. A non-album song, again a cover version, this time of Tomorrow’s My White Bicycle, was a UK Top 20 entry in 1975.
Hair Of The Dog was released in 1975. The title track of that album (popularly, though incorrectly, known as Son Of A Bitch due to its chorus lyrics) became a staple of 1970s rock radio. The American version of the album included a song originally recorded by The Everly Brothers, and also covered by Roy Orbison, the expressively melodic ballad Love Hurts, that was released as a hit single in the UK and in the U.S., where it went platinum. In addition, the track became the band’s only U.S. Top Ten hit.
In 1979, second guitarist Zal Cleminson was added to the line-up. Cleminson contributed numerous compositions to the albums No Mean City and Malice in Wonderland. The latter produced a popular AOR single called Holiday. Various Nazareth line-ups continued to make studio albums off and on through 1998, and remained together many more years for various tours. In 1999, while touring the U.S., original drummer Darrell Sweet died at age 51 – the result of a heart attack. He was replaced by bassist Pete Agnew’s son for later editions of the band. More recently the band toured Canada with the opening act, Headpins.