Formed in Dunfermline in 1968, Nazareth moved to London in 1970 and released two albums – their eponymous debut in 1971 and Exercises in 1972. They supported Deep Purple on tour and issued the Roger Glover-produced Razamanaz, in early 1973. This LP 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 (a cover of the Joni Mitchell song This Flight Tonight) – and Rampant, in 197. A non-album song, My White Bicycle, (also a cover) made the UK Top 20 entry in 1975
Nazareth peaked with their sixth album, Hair Of The Dog (October 1975), which sold two million copies and inspired future Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose. The album is a slice of quintessential 70s hard rock, typified by Dan McCafferty’s screeching vocal that Axl would later copy wholesale. G N’ R covered the title track in 1993.
The single Love Hurts was a hit single in the UK and in the US, where it went platinum and was the band’s only US Top Ten hit.
Various Nazareth line-ups continued to make studio albums and tour throughout the 1980s and 1990s, although their popularity declined such that some albums no longer received either a UK or a US release. They remained popular in Europe, particularly in Germany.
Malice In Wonderland (1980) was produced by Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff Baxter and departed substantially from the usual Nazareth sound. Their 12th album, The Fool Circle (1981), was also produced by Baxter and tested the limits of the band’s musicality.
Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose asked Dan McCafferty to sing Love Hurts at his 1990 wedding to Don Everly’s daughter, Erin.
McCafferty turned him down, correctly assuming that the marriage wouldn’t last much longer than the song . . .
Manuel ‘Manny’ Charlton