Broken Down AngelRazamanaz
This Flight TonightLoud ‘n’ Proud
Turn On Your ReceiverLoud ‘n’ Proud
Shanghai’d In ShanghaiRampant
Shapes Of ThingsRampant
My White BicycleGreatest Hits
Love HurtsHair Of The Dog
TelegramClose Enough For Rock ‘N’ Roll
Where Are You Now?Sound Elixir

Nazareth photo 1
A&M Records promo photo l-r Dan McCafferty,
Pete Agnew, Darrell Sweet, Manuel Charlton



Nazareth playlist


Contributor: Alan Haines

The single Broken Down Angel is my starting point for Nazareth, that no-frills band of hard rockers from Dunfermline. Released in April 1973, it reached number nine in the charts that year. This song was a collective effort by the whole band, Dan McCafferty (vocals), Darrell Sweet (percussion), Pete Agnew (bass) and Manny Charlton (guitar). Whilst many groups were enthusiastically embracing the garish make-up, weird hair and outlandish costumes of glam rock, Nazareth remained refreshingly old school. Although, when I saw them in 1973 at Amersham College, I seem to recall that Dan McCafferty was sporting a slightly unnerving, white, one-piece body suit. Or maybe it was the Double Diamond I had before I went in.


Nazareth Razamanaz

The single was lifted from their album Razamanaz which I dutifully purchased from Record House in Chesham, soon after the gig (the LP is now sadly lost so I had to buy this 2005 CD version). As the title suggests, Broken Down Angel is not a song full of joy and hope; the lyrics are seriously downbeat and increasingly desperate, She used to be a girl of simple pleasures, A breath of spring to chase your blues away, But now she bears a cross for a love that she has lost, No sunshine in her eyes just clouds of grey. The album was produced by Roger Glover of Deep Purple and even though Nazareth weren’t a new band it was this song and album that really launched them into the wider public eye. They had been a covers band in Scotland for many years before this, labouring under the name of the Shadettes until they reinvented themselves as Nazareth in 1968.

Their first album, simply called Nazareth, was released in November 1971 and from it Dear John was released as a single. It reached number three in the French charts and another single from the album, Morning Dew, was a radio hit in Germany. At over seven minutes long Morning Dew was always going to find it difficult to be a chart single, but it is the standout song from this first Nazareth album. Probably because this was the only track not written by the band members but a Canadian called Bonnie Dobson. That’s not to say the album isn’t any good, it’s just not particularly strong with too many ordinary songs.

In 1972, their second album Exercises was a totally different affair. Out went the hard rock approach and in came an odd mixture of folky, acoustic and even orchestral sounds. The opening track on side one, I Will Not Be Led, is about as unNazareth as a song can get! And it’s probably just me, but the second song, Cat’s Eye, Apple Pie sounds to me like it was recorded by the Goodies. The album also features a version of Woke Up This Morning, a not terribly cheery little number about someone’s dog and cat dying that reappeared on their third album, Razamanaz. As for Fool About You, the first track on side two, well it could have been done by Bucks Fizz. It’s fair to say this album doesn’t feature many of the band’s finest moments. Let’s be charitable and call it experimental. Probably existing Nazareth fans didn’t know what to make of it and it didn’t win them many new ones either. A friend of mine bought it and he said he played it once and never again. Maybe a bit harsh but a reflection of how this album missed its audience.

Fortunately, they were back in the groove, bang on form and with a new sense of purpose with Razamanaz. The title track is a rousing, shouty, song that allowed Dan McCafferty to show what a great rock voice he had. Someone described it as a ‘sandpaper’ voice. I don’t think I can improve on that. The whole album exudes confidence and announced that Nazareth were back in business, and I’ll happily include this title track in my top ten. The reworked Woke Up This Morning that rounds off side one, is now a more hard-edged and menacing song. Another track from this album, Bad Bad Boy, was a single and reached number 10 in the UK charts. Another track worth listening to is the opener of side two, Night Woman, a perfect catchy pop song with silly lyrics e.g. She’s a night woman of my dreams, And I saw her glidin’ on a moonbeam. I just loved this album and after indulging in a Sunday afternoon spent listening to Peter Hammill and Pink Floyd following The Big Match on TV, this was just what I needed to get the blood circulating again and inhibit thoughts of school the next day.


Now that the band had seen chart success with two top 10 singles, their label, Mooncrest, wanted them to keep churning them out. So later the same year, 1973, another album emerged, Loud ‘n’ Proud. To show how wide their appeal was growing, this album made number one in Austria. Whereas previously they had achieved success through their own song writing (Morning Dew aside) this album featured three covers, Teenage Nervous Breakdown, a Little Feat song, The Ballad Of Hollis Brown, a Bob Dylan song, but most significantly, a Joni Mitchell song, This Flight Tonight.

Joni Mitchell had only written and recorded the song a couple of years previously for her album Blue. Apparently, she was not only astonished, but also highly impressed by the band’s heavy metal take on her song. When she played a gig in the UK, after Nazareth had seen their version reach number 11 in the UK charts, number one in Germany, number two in Austria and number five in Switzerland, she announced to the crowd that, “I’d like to open with a Nazareth song”. Which is rather sweet. It’s such a strong song and version of it from Nazareth that it’s a shoe-in for my top ten.

Another song from Loud ‘n’ Proud makes it into my Nazareth top ten. Turn On Your Receiver, the third track on side one, is a song about a man’s determination to keep a rival for ‘his woman’ at bay (it is 1973 remember). Dan makes it quite clear, with his usual vigorous and energetic vocals, that he’s going to hang on to his woman and that the chap, who is taking an unwelcome interest, is given an unambiguous warning, Turn on your receiver, there’s a message coming through, Keep your hands off my woman, Keep your hands to yourself, Keep your hands off my woman. As I said, unambiguous.


The band’s fifth studio album Rampant was released in 1974. It was the third and last to be produced by Roger Glover. The Deep Purple connection was strengthened with a guest appearance by their keyboard player, Jon Lord, on a couple of tracks. One of these was Shanghai’d In Shanghai, a song that became one of the great Nazareth anthems, although the single only made number 41 in the UK charts. This would have been disappointing for them at the time, as this was a song they wrote themselves, but it did become a huge favourite over the years with Nazareth fans everywhere, and so it’s my fifth Nazareth top ten song.

Also on the album is a wonderful version of the Yardbirds’ song Shapes Of Things, and even though David Bowie did his own unique take on the song only a year earlier, the Nazareth cover more than holds its own and so it’s my sixth selection.


Nazareth Greatest Hits

In April 1975, Nazareth covered the psychedelic classic My White Bicycle, a 1967 song by the band Tomorrow. Dan’s gritty voice lifts the song effortlessly into the 1970s hard rock genre and it doesn’t feel at all wrong or out of place. The Nazareth version is very different from the original and showed how skilled they were in creating something new from an original classic. It was included on the Greatest Hits album that was also released in time for Christmas 1975. Curiously it was also performed by the character Neil from the TV comedy The Young Ones ten years later in 1984. The Nazareth version propelled the band back into the charts, where the song made number 14, and it’s also in my Nazareth top ten.


April 1975 also saw the release of the band’s sixth studio album, Hair Of The Dog, this time produced by band member Manny Charlton. The album went on to become their best seller with over two million sold worldwide. It also did very well in the USA and reached number 17 on the Billboard chart. The title track was the Nazareth stadium song, a heavy rock rhythm with a singalong chorus that demanded audience participation, although it’s often called Son Of A Bitch after that chorus, Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch. The song was often covered by Guns N’ Roses live and they eventually included it on their 1993 album The Spaghetti Incident?.



Not included on Hair Of The Dog’s original release, but inserted into various later versions, was the 1960 Everly Brother’s song Love Hurts. This became a huge hit for Nazareth in the USA, where it reached number eight in the charts. Sadly, that success was not repeated at home as in the UK where it flickered briefly at the number 77 chart position before disappearing (or 79, depending on your source). The song has been covered by many others. Cher had a go and so did Roy Orbison. But it was Jim Capaldi who had better luck in the UK where his take on it reached number five in 1975. However, Nazareth scored top 30 positions in several other countries including Canada, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Brazil. A couple of years later, the song featured on a Nazareth EP called Hot Tracks and it reached number 15 in 1977.

Another single, Holy Roller, appeared towards the end of 1975 and reached number 36 in the UK and was in the charts for four weeks.


In 1976, a seventh studio emerged, Close Enough For Rock ‘N’ Roll, and it showcased the weariness and the toll taken on a band that seemed to be forever recording and touring. The opener Telegram, a song in four parts, is almost a plea by the band to be rescued from the never-ending loop they find themselves in: Wake up call to catch the plane, You know you’re on the road again, Someone’s bangin’ in your head, Why did you get so late to bed, Runnin’ late and feelin’ bad, That breakfast was the worst you’ve had, Make the gate no time to spare, Before you know you’re in the air, 747 flies us high, Much higher than we’re meant to be, You’re six miles high but feelin’ down, You wish you could be on the ground. The angst of touring is explored further in the third track on side one, Homesick Again, and some disillusionment with a particular promoter is told in Vancouver Shakedown. Unfortunately, the city of Vancouver took the song personally and their songs were banned from the city’s airwaves!

Some of the fears of being constantly on the road were very personal and maybe Dan gives the game away in the song Lift The Lid when he asks, And does my woman love me now, Like she loved me then, Here I am, my defences are down, Will she remember me when I’m not around, Will she still dream by me, Or will she find a new life. Sadly, the album made no impact in the UK, although it was recorded in Canada and helped to make them a big success in that country. Despite the little spat with Vancouver. It occurs to me this was almost a concept album, or maybe that’s a step too far for comfort?

Play ‘N’ The Game was album number eight and featured four covers. This also sank without trace in the UK and, to be honest, I had not kept up with the band’s output for the last couple of albums in the late 1970s. Their ninth album Expect No Mercy saw a return to a heavier sound, although their own website describes it as “a definite shift to the AOR market … created around that time mainly by two bands – the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac”. A single from the album, Gone Dead Train written by Randy Newman, did just scrape into the top 50 in 1977. Another single from the album, Place In Your Heart, reached number 70. It’s a very catchy song and deserved to go higher than that.


The following year, 1978, saw a major change for Nazareth; a new band member joined and so they became a five-piece. The new member was guitarist Zal Cleminson, better known for his theatrical role in the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. This new line-up released an album called No Mean City in 1979. This one was unusual for Nazareth in that there were no covers included and it contained all new material written by the band. It charted at number 34 in the UK so they were definitely back in business. It also featured in the album charts for the USA, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Two singles were lifted from it with May The Sunshine reaching number 22 in the UK, and Star making number 54. The album artwork also showed a distinct heavy metal influence, with a ‘Lord of the Rings’ style figure, advancing towards you full of menace and clutching dangerously sharp objects. It can only mean one thing … your mum wouldn’t like it.

The five-piece Nazareth recorded another album together in 1979, Malice In Wonderland, and this time they went for a more commercial sound than the previous album. This also included a couple of singles, Holiday and a ballad called Hearts Grown Cold. Holiday was a radio hit in the USA but errors in the distribution of the record meant people couldn’t actually buy it. Even so it reached number 88 in the Billboard chart.

Unexpectedly, their record label, Mountain, got itself into serious financial difficulties and so Zal left and the original four members tried to sort out a new record deal. In 1981, they had a new album out called The Fool Circle which did make the album charts, although only at the lower end, reaching number 60. This included a live version of J. J. Cale’s song Cocaine but apart from this I found the album lacklustre and disappointing. I’ve given the whole album a few plays and it just doesn’t work for me.

Later that year a double live album It’s Naz was released. This included a fabulous Nazareth live performance at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. So many great songs on this, it deserves to be re-heard, at full volume! Interestingly, the Nazareth that was on stage for the live recording was a six-piece. Billy Rankin had joined on guitar and John Locke from the American psychedelic band Spirit on keyboards. It’s Naz made 78 in the UK charts and 83 on the USA Billboard chart. It was also voted into the top 500 greatest rock and metal albums of all time by Rock Hard magazine in 2005, at number 430.

A 1982 album called 2XS wasn’t released in the UK due to ongoing issues with their NEMS label (according to the Nazareth website) but it reached 122 in the USA Billboard charts. There were three singles pulled from it: Love Leads To Madness which was a hit in South Africa and reached number 19 in the USA; Games didn’t gain any notable success and Dream On was a hit in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In June 1983, a 14th studio album Sound Elixir emerged. Nazareth were now down to five band members after John Locke left, apparently following disagreements with the band’s new manager. The album featured ten new songs and made the album charts in Germany and Norway. I’ve included the last track on the album, Where Are You Now?, as it has a rather haunting melody and shows what a versatile singer Dan McCafferty was. He could inject power and emotion into a song in equal measure. He must be one of the most underrated rock vocalists ever.

After this album Billy Rankin left to pursue a solo career and the original four piece released another album, The Catch, in 1984 on the Vertigo label. They went on tour and supported Status Quo at the Milton Keynes Bowl.

Their 1986 album, Cinema, was a classic rock sound with no hint of folk or reggae, thankfully they seemed to have left that behind them. They weren’t afraid to tackle the big subjects though and A Veteran’s Song about the Vietnam War showed considerable sophistication in the lyrics. However, the album wasn’t a success, and it was three years before another album, Snakes ‘n’ Ladders, was released in 1989. Significantly, this was the last album – their 17th studio recording – that the four of them did together. Shortly afterwards Manny Charlton left Nazareth. Billy Rankin was invited to rejoin the band and so he filled the vacancy. A tour and some song writing took place and a new album No Jive in 1991. They continued with the hard rock sound and the standout tracks for me here are Everytime It Rains and Hire And Fire.

A 1994 album on Polydor called Move Me appeared in 1994, with Billy Rankin now doing the lion’s share of the song writing. But he left the band just before they were to tour to promote the album. So a guitarist called Jimmy Murrison was brought in to plug the gap. Ronnie Leahy, a keyboard player who had been in Stone the Crows and White Trash, was also engaged and they set off optimistically on a world tour covering much of Europe, Russia, the USA and Brazil. And in 1998, a new album, astonishingly the band’s 20th studio recording appeared, called Boogaloo. A fresh tour of the USA and Canada was arranged to promote the new album, but sadly on 30th April 1999, Daryl Sweet, a founding member and the band’s ever-present drummer, died of a heart attack. The tour was cancelled and they returned home. This was a time when they could have called it a day and reflected on much success and over 30 years as a band. Nobody would have blamed them but the two remaining original members Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew were very much in favour of continuing. The new drummer was to be Lee Agnew, Pete’s eldest son.


In short succession a number of live albums were released, Live At The Beeb in 1998, Back To The Trenches in 2001 and, in 2002, one called Homecoming recorded at The Garage in Glasgow. Alive & Kicking from 2003 is a different version of the Homecoming live album. Ronnie Leahy then left the band and as a four piece they toured extensively again in Russia, the USA, Israel and Europe. Nazareth were never shirkers! A greatest hits compilation appeared in 2004 called Maximum XS. A special live recording, Live From Classic T Stage at Shepperton Film Studios in 2005, showed that the band had lost none of their enthusiasm for making great rock music. A double CD compilation, Bad Bad Boys – The Best Of Nazareth, came out in 2005 and contained 34 songs.

Their 21st studio album, The Newz, was released in 2008 with all band members sharing the writing credits. Their tour following that release was a huge success and, encouraged, they wrote some more songs for the release of another studio album, Big Dogz, in 2011.

Nazareth continued to be immensely popular in Europe and rather bizarrely were chosen to sing their 2012 song God Of The Mountain live during the World Skiing Championship in Austria in 2013. But, sadly, Dan McCafferty was finding it difficult to breathe due to being diagnosed with COPD and he could no longer provide the vocal energy that Nazareth needed live and that he had provided for nearly 45 years. His swansong was the studio album Rock And Roll Telephone (the 23rd!!) which charted in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. On this he sounds as strong as ever, but he couldn’t carry on with the live performances and had to retire.

Linton Osborne was chosen as the new vocalist but a viral infection left him unable to perform and he left in January 2015. Auditions were held for a new singer and, soon after, Carl Sentance was appointed. He had an impressive heavy metal pedigree and had worked with Geezer Butler and Tony Martin of Black Sabbath, Paul Chapman of UFO and Don Airey of Deep Purple. A new album appeared in 2018 called Tattooed On My Brain. Again, Nazareth proved popular in Europe with the album charting in Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and Austria. The line-up of Carl Sentance, Pete Agnew, Jimmy Murrison and Lee Agnew released another album in 2018, Surviving The Law, which saw scant chart action, reaching number 10 in Switzerland and 68 in Austria. But they continue to sell out stadiums across the world and Nazareth have a busy schedule for the remainder of 2023.

For anyone wanting to hear Dan McCafferty for one last time, listen to a solo album released in October 2019 called Last Testament. It’s an album with a slower pace but Dan’s voice is still very recognisable. Original band member Manny Charlton died on 5th July 2022 aged 80 and that incredible vocal talent Dan McCafferty died only four months later on 8th November 2022. Pete Agnew is now the only surviving member of the original Nazareth playing at the age of 76. Hopefully he’ll go on for many more years yet as a living tribute to this extraordinary rock band.





Nazareth poster 1





Nazareth official website

Nazareth fan site

Nazareth biography (AllMusic)

Alan Haines is now retired and enjoying not going to work but doing things he wants instead, such as reading, listening to music, researching family history and walking the dog.

TopperPost #1,068


  1. Andrew Shields
    Jun 21, 2023

    Thanks for this excellent piece. They were a band that kind of floated in and out of my consciousness over a long period of time. I can hear their influence in a lot of later bands. Interesting that this is described as a Nazareth cover.

    • Alan Haines
      Jun 23, 2023

      They were the same for me Andrew. I was always pleased to see their later singles do well, long after I had ceased following them closely in the early and mid 70s. I don’t know what on earth that example of This Flight Tonight is all about! Sounds like a duff karaoke version, and that’s being kind.

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