Nazareth arose out of the remains of a former outfit of the Shadettes with Dan McCafferty (vocals), Pete Agnew (bass) and Darrel Sweet (drums). After the addition of Manny Carlton (guitar/vocals) they relocated to London and got a record contract with Pegasus'. Armed with a loyal following at home they managed two Hard Rock albums with Nazareth (1971) and Exercises (1972) before changing labels to Mooncrest', a move that would become theirchanging point for their 1973 single Broken Down Angel went straight to 9 U.K., with the accompanying album Razamanaz (1973) going to 11. With Roger Glover (ex-Deep Purple) at the production desk the album would spawn another hit single for the track Bad, Bad Boy, not to mention the act's re-release of Joni Mitchell's classic This Flight Tonight, almost making it their own. Their combining of excellent cover versions with original material and powerful use of stereophonic sound would continue to work on the follow-up album Loud N' Proud (1973), getting them a 10 in the U.K. Rampant (1974) would follow to a 13U.K. placing, but it was the release of their Boudleaux Bryant ballad Love Hurts that got them notice in the U.S.A. making top 10 in 1975, and the resulting album Hair Of The Dog (1975) charted at 17 U.S. That same year they released their best of compilation titled simply Greatest Hits, making 54 U.K. now on A&M'. The front man's first solo effort with the label was a side project of an all covers album that didn't sit well with fans and was quickly forgotten.
Close Enough For Rock N' Roll (1976) was the consolidation of their efforts in the U.S. and moderate success followed with each release, starting with this one at 24. Play N' The Game (1976) made 75, Expect No Mercy (1977) at 82 and No Mean (1979) at 88 U.S/34 U.K. None but the last charted well in the U.K. so before the No Mean release, Zal Cleminson (ex-The Sansational Alex Harvey Band; guitar) was recruited tohelp in their sagging support. The trick would work on their Malice In Wonderland (1980) release making 41 but only in the U.S., the U.K. market slowly slipping away.
John Locke (ex-Spirit) stepped in on keyboards for the Fool Circle (1981) release that finally got them a new U.K. charting at 60 and a 70 U.S. Their live set Snaz (1981) slipped under the radar at 78 U.K/83 U.S. During the remainder of the 1980s the band struggled with each recording, 2x5 (1983), Sound Elixir (1983), The Catch (1984), Cinema (1986) and Snakes N' Ladders (1989). They would finallysee some success again at the turn of the 1990s with No Jive (1991), now on Geffin' and with new member Billy Rankin (guitar) who had taken over Charlton's spot full time. There would be a several year break in album production before they returned with an all-star guest staff for Move Me (1997), featuring Michael Monroe and Axl Rose (ex-Guns N' Roses), among others. G N R also previously covering Nazareth's Hair Of The Dog. The album brought back McCafferty, Agnew and Sweet in classic form but also introduced Jimmy Murrison (guitar) and Ronnie Leahy (keyboards). After 30 years Nazarethwas still proving they had the suss to make Hard Rock music and Boogaloo (1998) would continue the tradition now on C.M.C.' But tragically, Sweet would die on 30th April 1999.