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Scottish hard rockers Nazareth dominated the airwaves in the late '70s with the biting rock anthem "Hair of the Dog" and the enduring proto-power ballad "Love Hurts." Emerging in 1971, the band found mainstream success in 1975 with the release of their platinum-selling fifth album, Hair of the Dog. Despite numerous lineup changes, the group remained prolific and popular in Europe throughout the '80s and '90s, and continued to tour and record into the 2000s, with bassist and co-founder Pete Agnew serving as the sole constant member. In 2018, Nazareth celebrated its 50th Anniversary with the release of Tattooed on My Brain. Surviving the Law, the band's 25th studio album, appeared in 2022. Formed in Dunfermline in 1968, Nazareth's initial lineup featured vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet. The band had relocated to London by 1970, and they released their self-titled debut album in 1971. Both Nazareth and 1972's Exercises received favorable attention by British hard rockers, but it was 1973's Razamanaz that moved them into the U.K. Top Ten (both "Broken Down Angel" and "Bad Bad Boy" were hit singles). Loud 'n' Proud and Rampant (both 1974) followed the same formula, yet were slightly less successful. Released the following year, Hair of the Dog established Nazareth as an internationally popular hard rock band. Featuring their revamped version of the Everly Brothers' "Love Hurts," the album sold over a million copies in the U.S. Until the end of the '70s, the band continued successfully as a quartet, releasing a series of Top 100 albums. In 1979, they added former Sensational Alex Harvey Band guitarist Zal Cleminson to their lineup; he left after recording two albums -- 1979's No Mean City and 1980's Malice in Wonderland -- and was replaced by former Spirit keyboardist John Locke. Following the 1981 live album 'Snaz, guitarist Bill Rankin also joined the group; Locke left soon after his addition and Rankin switched to keyboards. By this time, their commercial appeal had dwindled in both the U.K. and the U.S. By the mid-'80s, Nazareth was left without a record contract, so the band went on hiatus for a few years. They returned in 1992 with No Jive, which charted in Australia and Switzerland. Guitarist Jimmy Murrison joined the band after the release of 1994's Move Me. In 1999, Nazareth resurfaced yet again with Boogaloo. While touring the album, original drummer Darrell Sweet passed away at the age of 51 from a heart attack; bassist Agnew's son Lee took over drum duties. After a ten-year break, the band returned with their 21st studio album, 2008's The Newz, which was released in congruence with the band's 40th anniversary. 2011 saw the release of the bluesy Big Dogz, followed by Rock 'n' Roll Telephone in 2014. Citing ill health, longtime vocalist Dan McCafferty left the band shortly before the album's release. With the retired singer's blessing, Linton Osborne was chosen as McCafferty's replacement. Osborne departed ahead of the band's next studio effort, and was replaced by Carl Sentance (ex-Krokus, Persian Risk, Geezer Butler Band). Sentance made his debut on 2018's Tattooed on My Brain, which coincided with the band's 50th anniversary. That same lineup of Sentance, Pete Agnew, Jimmy Murrison, and Lee Agnew reconvened for 2022's Frontiers-issued Surviving the Law, their 25th long-player. Founding guitarist Manny Charlton died on July 5, 2022 at the age of 80. Long-time vocalist Dan McCafferty died on November 8, 2022 at the age of 76.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine & James Christopher Monger /TiVo


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