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 on 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 songs ranked.
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15. Love Leads to Madness (2XS, 1982)
“I grew up with Nazareth’s music, there have been movie’s and docu-dramas made about this title. love can lead to many things.”
14. Freewheeler (Loud ‘n’ Proud, 1973)
“‘Freewheeler’ is a groovy midtempo blues track, with licks and solos in all the right places. The best part is how it just perfectly maintains its rhythmic groove over the whole track, especially when it provides the perfect backdrop for all the solos during the lengthy coda. Nothing groundbreaking of course, but always a neat touch when a band can pull this off.”
13. Bad Bad Boy (Razamanaz, 1973)
“The get down “Bad Bad Boy”, pulled from Nazareth’s raging Razamanaz LP, packs wicked Manny Charlton slide guitar work and the ever-present iron-lung vocal performance from Dan McCafferty.
12. Go Down Fighting (Loud ‘n’ Proud, 1973)
“This album is complete with the screeching guitar solos, danceable bass grooves, authoritative vocals, aggressive lyrics against those who disapprove of rock music, and all the other things you’d expect from a 1970’s hard rock album, with enough uniquity to make it stand out.”
See more: Nazareth Albums Ranked
11. Beggars Day (Hair of the Dog, 1975)
“Part of my collection from back in the day, I HAD to have it again! Raucous and rowdy, it helps keep me young! The early tones of Heavy Metal – best album for Nazareth.”
10. Please Don’t Judas Me (Hair of the Dog, 1975)
“A haunting yet driving sound with compelling lyrics and strong vocals. You will need to crank up the volume on this one! This is absolutely the most epic grungy hard rock tune the band has ever produced. I listen to it just to get inspired.”
9. Shanghai’d in Shanghai (Rampant, 1974)
“Not one of their best known songs, but a fine little rock and roll tune from the mind-’70s. It sounds like singer Dan Mccafferty has a whole choir backing him up, but the song still rocks! What’s it about? It’s about all the trouble you can get into all over the world after being shanghai’d in Shanghai and stood on in Tuscon.”
8. Broken Down Angel (Razamanaz, 1973)
“Scottish hard rock band Nazareth had their main run of success in the early 70’s starting with this tough but melodic song which made the UK top 10 in 1973. Sounding not dissimilar to Celtic rivals of the time Thin Lizzy, in the end, the lack of a prolific songwriter like Lizzy’s Phil Lynott saw them fade from the scene, but this was still a strong calling card.”
7. Miss Misery (Hair of the Dog, 1975)
“This is one of my TOP favorite songs on this entire album. I love this meaning about a WITCHY WOMAN that has an EVIL SPELL over someone, who tries to break free from her, but CAN’T. Excellent guitar music, which could put me in mind of a song that Black Sabbath could be good on, vocally & musically. But it’s Nazareth’s song & it’s JUST great.”
See more: Exodus Albums Ranked
6. Changin’ Times (Hair of the Dog, 1975)
“This is my 2nd TOP favorite song incl., here. It is just a little over 6 minutes long. Halfway through, the tempo becomes somewhat faster & it’s ALL instrumental, to the end of the song. I love the vocals, too, on the FIRST half. For some reason, this song reminds me of something that Led Zeppelin could be good on.”
5. Razamanaz (Razamanaz, 1973)
“This song is the PERFECT song to open this album. It is EXCELLENT, in my opinion & it is a real fun song to listen to & enjoy.”
4. Dream On (2XS, 1982)
“The guitars transition through several unique sounds, starting with a distinct far eastern flavor and ending with the long solo’s fuzz box that you would swear is a synthesizer if you didn’t know they were not widely used at the time.”
3. This Flight Tonight (Loud ‘n’ Proud, 1973)
“I love Joni Mitchell’s more contemplative (you don’t say!) original, but there’s no question in my mind that Scottish rockers Nazareth pull off a similar reclamation job that Jimi did on Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”. Gripping, dramatic but never overpowering, this is 70’s heavy rock at its best.”
2. Hair of the Dog (Hair of the Dog, 1975)
“This title track is a really decent album opener. I always got a kick out of the words & the fantastic music & beat to this cut. an McCafferty’s vocals are strained to the limit with great emotion on some ballads while he really rocks on the faster numbers.
1. Love Hurts (Super Group Festival, 1974)
“Great song, nazareth is one of the most underrated bands in rock history (Not this song though) You should listen to all the songs below if you haven’t already. Fantastic cover version by Dan and the boys, as usual 110% commitment from the band, result : a timeless classic rock ballad.”