Nazareth Albums Ranked

Nazareth formed in December 1968 in Dunfermline, Scotland, from the remaining members 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 were inspired by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Nazareth took their name from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, which is cited in the first line of The Band’s classic song “The Weight” (“I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead…”).
Nazareth announced McCafferty’s retirement from the band due to ill health on 28 August 2013, leaving Pete Agnew as the sole remaining original member of the band. On 22 February 2014, it was announced that Scottish singer Linton Osborne was chosen as McCafferty’s replacement, with the former singer’s blessing. In December 2014, Nazareth announced the cancellation of several shows, and later postponement of their UK tour, due to Osborne contracting a virus that left him unable to perform. In a post on his Facebook page 16 January 2015, Osborne announced his departure from the band.
On 13 February 2015, the band announced that Carl Sentance, formerly of Persian Risk, Geezer Butler Band, and Krokus, was their new lead vocalist. On 25 June 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Nazareth among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. Here are all of Nazareth’s albums ranked.

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10. The Fool Circle (1981)

“Amazing band’s shift from the classic hard rock sound in the direction to poppy soft rock tunes is obvious here. It can’t be hidden as the late pregnancy. Is that good or bad? It’s terrible for strict hard rockers, while every band have a right for some experimental sound on the other hand. As for me, I don’t see reasons for anger here, several tracks are classy things indeed. I am crazy about ‘Little Part of You’ for example. Besides, it is hard to imagine the new Hair of the Dog breakthrough from them, lighting never strikes twice in one place. Nevertheless the Naz’s  musicianship is still exciting and listenable in every style so the most of songs are good or decent. (Мастерство не пропьешь). And one more quick word: they say, the lyrics of the rock bands are stupid in overall, I don’t think so-just listen ‘Another Year’ song. Think about them.”

9. Play ‘n’ the Game (1976)

“Nazareth – Play ‘n’ the Game – 1976, again moderate and usual hard rock with some hints of bluesy and boogie interplay, nothing special , nothing bad either. This album is one of the least I wanted to hear from them. Far  less enjoyable than the next one, the magnificent Expect no mercy from 1977 and less enjoyable than the previous two, Hair of the dog and Close Enough For Rock n Roll, this album brings nothing in Nazareth’s sound, is just another Nazareth album, but not one of top 5 in their career. Still some good pieces I can extract from here like:Waiting for the Man,L.A. Girls, the rest are just ok. So, a good album, nothing more nothing less. I recommend the next one Expect no mercy – they’ve really done it with that one for sure.”

8.Malice in Wonderland (1980)


“Malice in wonderland from 1980 is without any doubt one of my favorite Nazareth album ever, in top 3, the other two are Expect no mercy and Cinema. Every track is great influenced more of AOR sound but combined very well with their earlier sound of hard rock so a splendid album all the way. Fast cars, Talkin’ about love are real Nazareth classics, the rest are also strong. Finally a 4-star album, that means a great album who deserves to be heard by a wider auditorium.”

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7.Close Enough for Rock ‘n’ Roll (1976)

“Fantastic album!! This (possibly tied with Razamanaz)is Nazareth’s best album. “Telegram” is excellent as it segues into different parts and is about Life on the road as a rock and roller. The guitar is great as is songwriting and vocals. Manny Charlton is just one guy but you can hear more than one guitar. There is an acoustic number, “Vicky”, to show he can play folk too. “Born under the Wrong Sign” has an irresistible wicked bass – line and distorted guitar. “Your’e the Violin” also rocks!! The vocalist’s voice is a bit raspy but it suits the music. Simply a must for 70’s hard rock fans!!”

6. Expect No Mercy (1977)

‘After the hard rock success of Hair Of The Dog, Nazareth stripped back to a more pop-song-styled effort for two records, before realizing that what their fans wanted was another metallic monster.  So here it is.  Hair Of The Dog, Part 2, in effect, and maybe not as amazing, but still good.  The title track is a full-on rocker, and here’s another country cover, this one the Harlan Howard-penned Busted.  Worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of Hair Of The Dog.”

5. Rampant (1974)

“Much better and heavier than it’s more commercial predecessor (which nevertheless ended with the Bands best and heaviest track), this album is certainly the true followup to “Razamanaz”, and could even be compared. Side by side it’s a shade less heavy and the band’s annoying commercial rock flirtations are felt on even the good tracks here (though not as much as the majority as the previous LP), but Glover’s as usual production gives the recording a much needed boost, and the bands obvious energy, talent, and decent song helps pushes this further than what many reviewers think. Matter of fact the only issue with “Razamanaz” was the B-Side whereas this album is very consistent all the way through. ‘

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4. No Mean City (1978)

“Among Nazareth fans this is probably the most loved of their CDs. I have everything they put out including numerous versions on CD of their catalog so I would say that I really like Nazareth! And this one is my favorite CD by this group for certain. I do think that they had many great songs ahead of them and that even when they experimented with new-wavish sounds that those later 80’s CDs were decent mainly and mostly enjoyable; that this one did everything that you wanted Nazareth to do and it did it better.”

3. Loud ‘n’ Proud (1973)

“Nazareth’s Loud ‘n’ Proud is most likely their best album ever. McCafferty was at his vocal peak, and the band really was really tight. The first side of the LP does have generally the same rhythm and tempo, and it is fairly predictable, but the songs are great. They’re catchy, have an contagious attitude, and are performed very well. Even if some pass of the A-side as somewhat repetitive, you’ll probably be too busy head-banging in your bedroom to even notice.”

2. Razamanaz (1973)

“This album was to become the introduction to the world of Nazareth for me. Listening to it for the first time as a young lad back in the mid seventies, the opening track ‘Razamanaz’ totally blew me away. Maybe It’s the old saying; “You never forget your first love” and a dose of nostalgia that makes me rate this album as high as a 5. But I thoroughly think it IS a smashing album all through. Producer Roger Glover (Deep Purple) really made the boys in the band work together like a well oiled machine. Several great “Naz classics” on here besides the title track; ‘Bad Bad Boy’, ‘Alcatraz’ (Russell), ‘Vigilante Man’ (Guthrie), ‘Night Woman’, ‘Woke Up This Morning’ and the first Nazareth UK hit single ‘Broken Down Angel’.”

1. Hair of the Dog (1975)

“In 1975 the Scottish Hard Rock band Nazareth released their masterpiece, and what is one of the greatest Hard Rock albums ever recorded, Hair Of The Dog. Hair Of The Dog doesn’t have anything resembling a weak song on it but what it does have is one hard hitting,  earth-shaking, bone crunching song after another. And every one is perfectly balanced between Danny McCafferty menacing, growly Vocals and Manny Charlton’s snarling, crushing, and searing Guitars. This album stands tall as one of the greatest Hard Rock icon albums of the 19770s and of all time. Every track is incredible, but among the gems the real standouts are the fantastic aggression of the title cut, the out of control thunder of Changin’ Times, the despondent snarl-thud of Beggar’s Day, and the wondrously beautiful Rose In The Heather. This is as perfect as perfect gets.”