Nazareth are a Scottish 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. The track became the band's only U.S. Top Ten hit.
In 1979, second guitarist Zal Cleminson was added to the lineup, remaining for two albums, No Mean City and Malice in Wonderland, and contributing numerous compositions. Malice in Wonderland produced a popular AOR single called "Holiday".
Various Nazareth lineups continued to make studio albums and tour throughout the 1980s and 1990s, although their popularity had declined such that some albums no longer received neither a UK nor a USA release. they remained popular in Europe, particularly Germany, where "Dream On" became a hit single.
In 1999, while touring the U.S., original drummer Darrell Sweet died at age 51 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.
In February 2008, a new album was released on the Hamburg-based label Edel Entertainment entitled The Newz. The release of the album coincided with Nazareth's fortieth anniversary tour which started on 25 January in Sweden and visits most of Europe, finishing on the 4 November in Norway.