Nazareth (band)

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Nazareth at the Wacken Open Air 2018
Nazareth at the Wacken Open Air 2018
General information
Genre (s) Hard rock
founding 1968
Founding members
Dan McCafferty (until 2013)
Manny Charlton (until 1990)
Pete Agnew
Darrell Sweet (until † April 30, 1999)
Current occupation
Carl Sentance (since 2015)
Jimmy Murrison (since 1994)
Pete Agnew
Lee Agnew (since 1999)
former members
Dan McCafferty (1968-2013)
Linton Osborn (2014-2015)
Zal Cleminson (1978-1980)
Billy Rankin (1981-1983, 1990-1994)
John Locke † (1980–1982)
Ronnie Leahy (1994-2002)

Nazareth is a British hard rock band from Scotland formed in 1968 . Together with other bands of the first generation of hard rock such as Led Zeppelin , Deep Purple , Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath , the band played a key role in shaping hard rock and also laid the foundation for heavy metal, which was emerging years later .

Her most famous albums are Razamanaz and Loud 'n' Proud from 1973 and Hair of the Dog from 1975. The individual band members have also been involved in numerous solo projects. With almost 60 million albums sold worldwide, they are together with the Simple Minds the most internationally known music group from Scotland.



In 1966 Dan McCafferty , Darrell Sweet and Pete Agnew formed the band The Shadettes in Dunfermline, Scotland . They mainly toured as a cover band through small pubs and bars. After two years they decided to make their own music and in 1968 they founded Nazareth with their compatriot Manuel "Manny" Charlton.

The 1970s: Hard'n'Heavy pioneering days

The Nazareth and Exercises albums

Nazareth initially toured Europe for two years. In 1971 the first album Nazareth was released, a rock album with pop music influences. The introductory title Witchdoctor Woman is a hard rock piece, as is the semi-ballad Red Light Lady about the forbidden relationship between a regular client and his whore. With a deeply tuned guitar, Fat Man is reminiscent of Black Sabbath and, with an ironic undertone, describes the tragic life of an overweight person who is avoided and ridiculed. The slow ballad The King Is Dead closes the album. Arranged without drums, but with strings, synthesizers and polyphonic choral singing, this piece still occupies an exceptional position in the group's work to this day. Morning Dew and Dear John were released as singles with moderate success .

The group continued to work and published Exercises in 1972 . This second album is also characterized by stylistic diversity and the search for a musical identity and combines influences from rock, country and folk music. Acoustic guitars are used as well as string instruments and synthesizers. In particular, the introductory rock ballad I Will Not Be Led is dominated by a complex string arrangement.

The group found their first opportunities to present the new repertoire at concerts outside Scotland in the opening act for Atomic Rooster and Rory Gallagher . These early appearances were not very popular with the concert audience. During the tour as the opening act for Rory Gallagher, there were even arguments with his supporters, as bassist Pete Agnew recounted in June 2004 in retrospect. When their record contract was threatened with unsuccessful termination, the group took a last chance given by the record company and convinced audiences and critics on a tour to support Deep Purple . Their bass player Roger Glover left Deep Purple temporarily after the tour to work as a music producer and, impressed by the group's stage performances, offered his support to Nazareth.

The album Razamanaz

Nazareth's commercial breakthrough came with the album Razamanaz , produced by Roger Glover and released in May 1973 , with which the group defined its own style in a symbiosis of heavy rock, rock 'n' roll and blues. The music was now shaped by the classic rock instruments electric guitar, electric bass and drums as well as by the hoarse, often screeching voice of singer Dan McCafferty, who regularly consumed a lot of alcohol during performances on stage. They described the group's appearance and attitude as reckless, hard-drinking, fun-loving Scots from the working class. Roger Glover had produced the hard rock of the album raw, direct and impulsive, at the same time left plenty of room for catchy guitar riffs and virtuoso guitar melodies and brought Nazareth stylistically close to Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin . The music critics noted a closeness to Deep Purple and their then current releases In Rock (1970) and Machine Head (1972). For example, the title song of the same name from the album Razamanaz is a variation of the Deep Purple classic Speed ​​King from the album In Rock .

Broken Down Angel , the first single from the album Razamanaz , rose to number 9 in the UK sales charts in 1973, becoming the group's first top ten success. That was also the case with the second single Bad Bad Boy , which reached number 10.

The albums Loud 'n' Proud and Rampant

Later that year, Roger Glover's second album Loud 'n' Proud hit stores. It contained a cover version of Joni Mitchell's This Flight Tonight , which developed into an international chart hit and reached number 1 on the charts in Germany. The material was produced differently than Razamanaz , but musically it was the exact continuation. Nazareth impressed with the opening title Go Down Fighting with a very high playful speed for this time. 1974 appeared Rampant , also produced by Roger Glover. The album's opening title was an epic long pre-heavy metal title called Silver Dollar Forger . There were a number of titles between heavy rock and blues as well as the two ballads Loved and Lost and Sunshine . The rock 'n' roll number Shanghai'd was released as a single in Shanghai . In terms of sales, it lagged behind its predecessor This Flight Tonight , which dominated the charts well into 1974. The album was ended with the Yardbirds cover Shapes of Things .

The album Hair of the Dog

In 1975 guitarist Manny Charlton decided to take the place of producer and stayed that way for the next five albums. The first result was the album Hair of the Dog , the group's most successful album in the USA. The originally planned title Son of a Bitch was too sensitive for the record company, which is why the album was renamed Hair of the Dog . The offending line was only included in the chorus of the title song. The album became one of the first reference albums for the heavy metal emerging years later . This was not only due to the title track , which is replayed by metal groups to this day, but also to Miss Misery , Changin 'Times and Beggar's Day , which was taken over by Nils Lofgren . With its structure, Changin 'Times was something of a new Black Dog , but overall it was a bit more aggressive than the Led Zeppelin title four years older. The ballad Guilty , also included on the album , was replaced on the US version of the album by the ballad Love Hurts , a cover version of a piece by the Everly Brothers from 1960, which was only released as a single in Europe. This topped the charts for months and has been the band's greatest success to date.

The albums Close Enough for Rock 'n' Roll and Playing the Game

Nazareth on March 6, 1976

Close Enough for Rock 'n' Roll was the first 1976 album. The first song Telegram then acted as an opener at concerts for years. Nazareth told more and more stories about the dark side of life in their songs. The romantic image that many outsiders had of the life of a rock star was also disillusioned in Telegram , for example . With their attitude they now differentiated themselves from the good mood scheme of glam rock, into which they were initially supposed to be pressed by their management. Nazareth set the course for sleaze rock , in whose footsteps many hair metal bands followed in the 1980s . It was not uncommon for Nazareth's lyrics to revolve around brutal street gangs, criminality and all kinds of addictions. As angry and bitter as the lyrics of some pieces were, they stood in stark contrast to the friendly and down-to-earth appearance of McCafferty and his bandmates in public.

Playing the Game followed in the same year , from which the blues song I Want to Do Everything for You and pieces like Born to Love , Waiting for the Man and Somebody to Roll emerged .

The album Expect No Mercy

At the end of 1977 the album Expect No Mercy was released . The album mostly featured heavy metal songs, but there were also a few AOR numbers and the ballad All the King's Horses . It should also be pointed out that the band defined new degrees of hardness with the title song of the album as well as Revenge Is Sweet or Gimme What's Mine and even tore down the boundaries of the emerging heavy metal. With these songs one can even speak of a very first impulse for Speed ​​Metal , which emerged a few years later , on which bands like Slayer could then build. Especially with Revenge Is Sweet , drummer Darrell Sweet played perhaps the first blast beat in music history. Kentucky Fried Blues and New York Broken Toy are groovy mid-tempo numbers that unfold their aggressiveness through Dan McCafferty's grating voice. Hit singles did not emerge from this album. However, North America discovered the group more and more. Frank Frazetta's album cover shows two monsters dueling each other in a sword fight.

The album No Mean City

Towards the end of 1978 the group wanted to reinforce their sound with a second guitarist. Ex- Alex Harvey band member Zal Cleminson came to Nazareth for this post. With him the album No Mean City was released. The title track deals lyrically with the content of the novel of the same name by McArthur and Long from the 1930s. It's about rival youth gangs in the Gorbals , a poor district of Glasgow, for Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew, who had spent their childhood and youth in the vicinity of this big city, so a very personal matter. The cynical and pessimistic undertone, which was also inherent in many of the songs on the predecessor Expect No Mercy , also superimposed many compositions on this album. Just to Get into It , Simple Solution and Claim to Fame clearly stand out here .

In particular, Hair of the Dog , Expect No Mercy and No Mean City are part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal , which developed from traditional hard rock at the end of the 1970s and was significantly influenced by bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden . Dan McCafferty had a cutting grating voice on these albums, which is often compared to that of Brian Johnson of AC / DC . In her quiet, ballad-like moments, Dan McCafferty's voice resonates with a touch of Rod Stewart .

The themes from the No Mean City album were most often used for merchandise items. For years they adorned shirts, patches, hats, umbrella caps, posters, etc. After that, Nazareth never achieved the quality of these albums again, because from 1980 the style of the group was clearly oriented towards shallower and more poppy areas and the fans missed the rough and aggressive sound of the early days .

The 1980s - AOR years

The album Malice in Wonderland

In 1980 the group turned production over to Jeff Baxter of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan . The result was the pop-rock album Malice in Wonderland . Holiday and the ballad Heart's Grown Cold made Nazareth famous, especially in the US market. The title Fallen Angel was stylistically linked to the opening title I Will Not Be Led by Exercises -LP and spread a similar mood.

The USA and primarily Canada were the best sales markets for the group at that time, as they rarely visited Europe for a few years. In Canada alone, Nazareth has sold around 15 million records to date and each of its releases has been awarded a gold record . The group had nothing in mind these days with the loud crashing rock of yore. Instead, she tried to force another single success by releasing dozens of ballads that were so effective in the USA. After the Malice-in-Wonderland-World-Tour , Zal Cleminson decided to get out to start his own group.

The album The Fool Circle

Again with Jeff Baxter, The Fool Circle was realized in 1981 , stylistically very similar to the album Malice In Wonderland . Also in 1981 the band contributed their song Crazy to the soundtrack of the cartoon Heavy Metal . With the background music, colleagues like Black Sabbath , Blue Oyster Cult , Grand Funk Railroad and Cheap Trick were part of the party .

The albums Snaz and 2XS

Before the Fool Circle tour, Billy Rankin, a young guitarist from Glasgow, came to Nazareth. Likewise, John Locke - formerly with the group Spirit - followed on the keyboards. The live album Snaz emerged from this tour, and the next album 2XS was released in 1982 .

Nazareth then became much more rocking than its two predecessors, but not as “heavy” as it was in the 1970s. At that time there was generally a kind of division between “Heavy Metal” for example with Iron Maiden , Manowar , WASP and many more and “Hardrock” for example with AC / DC , Uriah Heep , Kansas , Styx etc., Nazareth closed for the next two to three years now finally to the rock-melodic and softer direction. The whiskey rockers of yore changed under the pressure of the record company to succeed more and more in the direction of pop stars with some rock approaches. “Too melodic for heavy metal fans, too rocky for pop fans” was a common clause in the media when the subject of Nazareth and the musical indecision of those days came up. Live on stage they still presented themselves as rockers, whereas on the LPs they appeared peacefully.

At the turn of the year 1982/83, the constant publication of Rockschnulzen in the sense of the great chart success reached its peak. Dream On hit the charts and became the first really big hit since This Flight Tonight and Love Hurts . The success of the single underpinned Nazareth's status as a USA-compatible stadium rock group, but it should also be the group's last international super hit to date, because the general interest of the big media was weakening. However, at that time the Scots were the first western music group in Poland to perform in front of 150,000 spectators in a stadium and were the headliners at a festival in Hungary in front of 120,000 fans. Eastern Europe became a new mainstay for the band for the first time. That should continue to expand immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The albums Sound Elixir and The Catch

Hard times came after Dream On dropped out of the charts. John Locke left the band and there was an argument with the record company A&M. Their manager at the time disappeared overnight and the group was left without a contract. Finally, in 1983, a new contract was signed with MCA. However, MCA did not make much effort to support the group or the release of the new album Sound Elixir . That was probably one of the reasons why one of their musically best albums didn't make the big international breakthrough. Titles such as Whippin 'Boy , Rags to Riches by Sound Elixir and Boys in the Band or Games by 2 x S spoke to many young people of the 1980s from the soul and lyrically reflected the resistance against the establishment. In terms of style, Sound Elixir is comparable to 2 x S , which means there were some good hard rock numbers and a lot of AOR material, but there were a lot of gap fillers that didn't lift the album beyond mediocrity. The supporters who had not yet jumped off often reacted at a loss. The ballad Where Are You Now was conceived as a direct successor to Dream On and ran somewhat satisfactorily, but quickly disappeared into oblivion. Instead, constant traveling and the lack of support from MCA eventually led to Billy Rankin's exit . The group moved home to take a break and then re-released The Catch with the founding cast . The musical crisis was sealed because this album is considered the worst among many Nazareth fans. Only the contained title This Month's Messiah developed into a classic, at least at concerts.

The album Cinema

In 1986 the group remembered their old virtues and tried to build on their old successes with hard rock audiences. The recently completed album Cinema was followed by a two-year world tour, during which a (music) stylistic dilemma became increasingly clear: the audience was divided on what to expect from Nazareth and was therefore divided. The heavy fans of the past hardly gave the group a chance after their stylistic excursions of the last few years, while the new fans expected more moderate rock, could hardly do anything with the material on Cinema and turned away. As a result, Nazareth withdrew for some time in 1988.

The album Snakes 'N' Ladders

1989 came out Snakes 'N' Ladders , a very political album, with which Nazareth showed a new side in her long career. The musical crisis of the last few years was over and with this album Nazareth presented itself as a healthy and harmonious hard rock group - again subscribed to smaller clubs, but musically refined. The album was a typical 1980s record, produced in a special way. It went well with the hair metal groups of the day. Politically, the album failed insofar as Nazareth took up explosive topics in the lyrics, such as human trafficking ( Trouble ) or prostitution due to drug addiction ( Donna, Get Off That Crack ). As mentioned earlier, Nazareth is one of the first groups to appear in Eastern European countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall. There she experienced something like a second spring, because the spread of black photos had created a large audience in these countries that had hoped for decades to see the band live. Accordingly, the audience came to the concerts in large numbers, and Nazareth again filled stadiums there, in contrast to Western Europe, where they only played appearances in clubs. Also in 1989 some producers of the ARD crime series “ Tatort ” became aware of the Scots. The play Winner on the Night is a ballad similar to Dream On and ended the Tatort episode "Heart Failure", which was first broadcast in autumn 1989. At the same time, Nazareth's maxi single of the same name was released.

The 1990s until today - a return to the heavy rock roots

The albums No Jive and Move Me

After a tour of Russia in 1990, the situation near Nazareth was again tense due to the lack of support from the record company. This caused the founding member Manny Charlton to leave , in addition to internal disputes that were becoming more and more frequent . He wanted to make Nazareth more commercial, gentler and more chart-oriented once again. Dan McCafferty, Pete Agnew and Darrell Sweet agreed, however, that they would now finally stick to hard rock with a metallic touch. It was clear that only Billy Rankin could fill the gap. They got to work right away and recorded No Jive in late 1991 . This album seems less overproduced than its predecessor Snakes 'n' Ladders and presented itself to be heavier overall. For Nazareth, the 1990s meant a final return to its roots. Adult oriented rock was thrown overboard and the proportion of ballads reduced to about two per album. Hard metal tone sequences dominate on No Jive , especially on tracks like Hire And Fire , Right Between The Eyes and Cry Wolf . At the end of 1994, Move Me was released in Europe by Polydor and stylistically followed No Jive . 1995 Billy Rankin left the group again. He was replaced by the young Scottish guitarist Jimmy Murrison . Newly arrived Ronnie Leahy on the keyboard. After their return, the group received a contract for three albums with SPV .

Pete Agnew Rzeszów 2009

The albums Boogaloo and Homecoming

The studio album Boogaloo was released in 1998 and the live album Homecoming in 2002 . On April 30, 1999, drummer Darrell Sweet died of a heart attack before a concert. The group was shocked and withdrew from all appearances for a while. After a while, she decided to pick up Lee Agnew, the bassist's son, as the drummer and move on.

The albums The Newz , Big Dogz and Rock'n'Roll Telephone

The recording of the comeback album was completed in autumn 2007, and the album The Newz has been available in stores since February 29, 2008 . It is an anniversary album - 40 years after the group was founded. The album was presented live as part of a world tour. The tour started on January 25, 2008 in Sweden. The album is geared towards the modern market, but also has classic Nazareth pieces in its repertoire. It was the first studio album in almost 10 years.

On April 15, 2011, the album Big Dogz was released. The focus here was on very reduced 70s hard rock with blues influences in the wake of AC / DC and Rose Tattoo . The band wanted to avoid allegations of alleged overproduction made by some reviewers for The Newz . They turned to tried and tested genre ingredients for which the band has been known since the early 1970s. However, one looks in vain for songs by the brands Liar , Road Trip and Warning , with which the band on The Newz aimed at modern metal, rather slow blues and rarely fast rocking sound are offered here. This time there is less material available for younger heavy metal fans, but more for old school hard rock fans who have accompanied the band from the very beginning, and that is the main difference to its predecessor "The Newz", which was in both camps Found recognition.

Nazareth 2017 at the blacksheep festival

The Newz and Big Dogz were produced by Yann Rouiller.

On August 28, 2013, Nazareth announced that Dan McCafferty had left the band. He cited his poor health as the reason. The previous weekend he had to cancel a concert in Switzerland after three songs. McCafferty was also announced to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . The band announced a few weeks later that they would be taking the rest of 2013 off. In early 2014 an album was released on which Dan McCafferty had recorded all of the vocal tracks. In 2014 the band went on tour with a new singer. In February 2014, Linton Osborn was introduced as the new singer. The band's new album, Rock'n'Roll Telephone , was released in early June 2014.

But Linton Osborn had health problems early on, which led him to quit in January 2015. Carl Sentance (including Krokus ) was hired as his successor .

Influence on other groups and musicians

The influence the group exerted on later hard rock and heavy metal groups is proven by numerous reissues, above all the title Hair of the Dog from the album of the same name is often replayed. The guitarist Slash of Guns N 'Roses confessed to their influence, as well as Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks . Guns N 'Roses recorded a version of Hair of the Dog for their album Spaghetti Incident in 1993 , and Michael Monroe covered Not Faking It during his solo career . Furthermore, Warrant and Stonerider have already taken on the song Hair of the Dog . Metallica played an acoustic set at the Bridge School Benefit Concert in San Francisco on October 30, 2007, performing the epic Nazareth song Please Don't Judas Me . Paul Speckmann and his death metal band Master delivered a new version of Miss Misery a few years ago .

Performers outside of the hard rock scene, such as Jeanette Biedermann or Karel Gott , who recorded a version in the Czech language, tried their hand at the ballad Dream On .


Nazareth attracted attention at the beginning of their career due to their inappropriate appearance. Her gloomy demeanor - faded jeans, three-day beards and shaggy dark hair - displeased her management from 1970, because at that time the group preferred to position it between very successful glam rock groups such as Slade , The Sweet and T. Rex . So Nazareth were given an initial advance and commissioned to stock up on glamorous stage clothes in London's Kensington Market . So you can see the group in several forms, especially on old photos.

Ritchie Blackmore asked around 1973 after Deep Purple and Nazareth performed together in their cabin for a replacement for Ian Gillan in the person of Dan McCafferty , whereupon Pete Agnew threatened to “simply break all bones because McCafferty once and for all belongs to Nazareth “In an interview on May 6, 2010 he stated that he was not seriously asked by Deep Purple.

Nazareth almost got on board the plane that crashed Lynyrd Skynyrd's group members in 1977. Both groups were on a joint US tour at the time, and the southern rockers invited the Scots to join them on the group's own plane. However, Nazareth had to refuse due to a press conference and later fly after.


Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1971 Nazareth - - - - -
First published: November 1971
1972 Exercises - - - - -
First published: July 1972
1973 Razamanaz DE48 (4 weeks)
- - UK11 (25 weeks)
US157 (13 weeks)
First published: May 14, 1973
Loud 'n' Proud DE8 (28 weeks)
AT1 (28 weeks)
- UK10 (7 weeks)
US150 (8 weeks)
First published: November 12, 1973
1974 Rampant DE11 (24 weeks)
AT1 (28 weeks)
- UK13 (3 weeks)
US157 (9 weeks)
First published: June 1, 1974
1975 Hair of the Dog DE27 (20 weeks)
AT7 (8 weeks)
- - US17th

(40 weeks)US
First published: April 1, 1975
Sales: + 1,000,000
1976 Close Enough for Rock 'n' Roll DE42 (4 weeks)
- - - US24 (14 weeks)
First published: March 1976
1977 Play 'n' the game - - - - US75 (9 weeks)
First published: 1976
Expect no mercy - - - - US82 (16 weeks)
First published: November 1977
1979 No mean city - - - UK34 (9 weeks)
US88 (14 weeks)
First published: January 20, 1979
1980 Malice in Wonderland DE43 (11 weeks)
- - - US41 (19 weeks)
First published: March 17, 1980
1981 The Fool Circle - - - UK60 (3 weeks)
US70 (13 weeks)
First published: February 16, 1981
1982 2XS DE42 (11 weeks)
- - - US122 (10 weeks)
First published: July 12, 1982
1983 Sound Elixir DE52 (6 weeks)
- - - -
First published: June 27, 1983
1984 The catch DE60 (2 weeks)
- - - -
First published: October 22, 1984
1986 Cinema - - - - -
First published: February 1986
1989 Snakes 'n' Ladders - - CH26 (1 week)
- -
First published: June 18, 1989
1991 No jive - AT31 (2 weeks)
CH36 (2 weeks)
- -
First published: November 1991
1994 Move Me - - CH36 (2 weeks)
- -
First published: October 16, 1994
1998 Boogaloo - - - - -
First published: August 25, 1998
2008 The Newz - AT75 (1 week)
CH68 (3 weeks)
- -
First published: March 31, 2008
2011 Big Dogz DE73 (1 week)
AT55 (1 week)
CH70 (1 week)
- -
First published: April 15, 2011
2014 Rock 'n' Roll Telephone DE39 (1 week)
AT35 (1 week)
CH31 (3 weeks)
- -
First published: June 3, 2014
2018 Tattooed on My Brain DE80 (1 week)
AT39 (1 week)
CH28 (2 weeks)
- -
First published: October 12, 2018

gray hatching : no chart data available for this year

Web links

Commons : Nazareth  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. accessed on October 17, 2019
  3. accessed on October 17, 2019
  5. accessed on October 17, 2019
  6. [1] , last accessed on October 27, 2013
  7. Nazareth are delighted to officially announce that we have found a new vocalist and frontman., February 22, 2014, archived from the original on November 11, 2014 ; accessed on March 15, 2016 .
  8. “Rock it!” Magazine no. 45, page 9,
  9. Interview with Dan McCafferty from May 6th, 2010, at 03:00 min. Retrieved November 19, 2019 .
  10. Chart sources: DE AT CH UK
  11. US singles: Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2006. Billboard Books, New York 2007, ISBN 0-89820-172-1 . / US albums: The Billboard Albums by Joel Whitburn , 6th Edition, Record Research 2006, ISBN 0-89820-166-7 .