Nazareth was a good, rockin' Scottish bar band when they formed in 1968. They got their name from the first line of the quintessential Band song "The Weight," from the lyric, "I pulled into Nazareth. I was feeling about half past dead…" By the time they released their third album, 1973's Razamatazz, they had already topped U.K. charts with the rollicking "Bad Bad Boy."
Not unlike AC/DC, who would soon emerge the following year, Nazareth was about no-holds-barred rock 'n' roll based around the power chord and lower register guitar riffs. Dan McCafferty's gravelly voice would be the forerunner of the style to be spearheaded later by Bon Scott and Axl Rose.
The group had scored a secure place on FM playlists with their Loud 'N' Proud LP in 1974, and with Hair of the Dog, which was released the following year in 1975 and went gold. It was on Hair of the Dog that they covered Boudleaux Bryant's classic "Love Hurts," which was first recorded by the Everly Brothers and covered by many others. This is the song that actually made the band a household name in America during the '70s.
Nazareth toured constantly, but their success stalled by 1979, when they added a fifth member, former Sensational Alex Harvey guitarist Zal Cleminson. Former Spirit keyboardist John Locke would also join temporarily in the early 1980s.
The band fell out of fashion in the '80s and stopped working for a few years. They regrouped in 1992, playing smaller halls for the more enthusiastic fans. In 1999, as the band was embarking on yet another U.K. tour, drummer Darrell Sweet died suddenly of a heart attack. He was replaced by Pete Agnew's eldest son, Lee. They remain a touring and recording act today.
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