Dan McCafferty, lead vocalist for Scottish band Nazareth who sang hit single Love Hurts, dies at 76

By | November 9, 2022

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Dan McCafferty, the longtime lead singer for the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, has died at age 76.

McCafferty’s bandmate, bassist Pete Agnew, announced that the singer had died on Tuesday in a Facebook post shared to the group’s page on the same day.

The musician, who co-wrote many of the group’s songs throughout the 1970s, is best known for his searing vocals on Nazareth’s top 10 hit cover of the Everly Brothers’ song Love Hurts, which became a power ballad staple.

Last song: Dan McCafferty, the longtime lead singer for the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, died uesday at age 76; seen in 2016 in Berlin

‘Dan died at 12:40 today,’ began Agnew, who added, ‘This is the saddest announcement I ever had to make.

‘[McCafferty’s wife] Maryann and the family have lost a wonderful loving husband and father, I have lost my best friend and the world has lost one of the greatest singers who ever lived,’ he continued, adding that he was, ‘Too upset to say anything more at this time.’ 

No cause of death was provided. McCafferty had retired from touring with Nazareth in 2013 due to the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

McCafferty, who was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1946, co-found Nazareth in 1968 with Agnew, as well Manny Charlton on guitar and Darrell Sweet on drums.

The group was inspired to take it’s name by a line in The Band’s classic song The Weight, which references the Pennsylvania town of Nazareth, rather than the Middle Eastern city.

Sad news: Bassist Pete Agnew made the announcement later on Tuesday. He described the late vocalist as his best friend. He is survived by wife Maryann and his two children

Sad news: Bassist Pete Agnew made the announcement later on Tuesday. He described the late vocalist as his best friend. He is survived by wife Maryann and his two children

Sad news: Bassist Pete Agnew made the announcement later on Tuesday. He described the late vocalist as his best friend. He is survived by wife Maryann and his two children

Beginnings: McCafferty co-founded the group in 1968. Despite raising its profile by opening for Deep Purple and working with that band's bassist Roger Glover, the group failed to attract much commercial attention; pictured in Montreal in 1976

Beginnings: McCafferty co-founded the group in 1968. Despite raising its profile by opening for Deep Purple and working with that band's bassist Roger Glover, the group failed to attract much commercial attention; pictured in Montreal in 1976

Beginnings: McCafferty co-founded the group in 1968. Despite raising its profile by opening for Deep Purple and working with that band’s bassist Roger Glover, the group failed to attract much commercial attention; pictured in Montreal in 1976

The group’s eponymous debut LP was released in 1971, and the group showed off a muscular hard rock sound, though it often included more pop-oriented covers.

Nazareth elevated its profile in rock circles by touring with Deep Purple, and that band’s bassist Roger Glover later lended some of his group’s style to Nazareth’s third LP Razamanaz from 1973.

Several of the band’s early albums were modest hits in the UK, but they failed to gain much traction in the United States until the release of its sixth album, 1975’s Hair Of The Dog.

The album was buoyed by the single Love Hurts, a reworked version of the Everly Brothers song, which had not been released as a single.

It had been previously covered, but Nazareth’s version, which had a harder edge thanks to Charlton’s guitars and McCafferty’s grainy yet powerful voice, reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the US, instantly becoming the group’s most identifiable song.

At last: Nazareth's LP Hair Of The Dog (1975) was its biggest hit in the US thanks to the Everly Brothers cover Love Hurts, which reached number 8 on the charts and has been used numerous times in other media; McCafferty (R) seen in 1973 with Manny Charlton

At last: Nazareth's LP Hair Of The Dog (1975) was its biggest hit in the US thanks to the Everly Brothers cover Love Hurts, which reached number 8 on the charts and has been used numerous times in other media; McCafferty (R) seen in 1973 with Manny Charlton

At last: Nazareth’s LP Hair Of The Dog (1975) was its biggest hit in the US thanks to the Everly Brothers cover Love Hurts, which reached number 8 on the charts and has been used numerous times in other media; McCafferty (R) seen in 1973 with Manny Charlton

It has since been used numerous times in film, television and commercials, though it is usually deployed for comedic or ironic effect.

The album did well, reaching number 17 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart thanks to other popular tunes like the title track, which McCafferty co-wrote. 

McCafferty’s former bandmate Charlton died in July of this year. 

In addition to his albums with Nazareth, McCafferty recorded three solo albums that were released to mostly lackluster results.

In 2014, he spoke to Classic Rock Here And Now about stepping away from the band due to his COPD diagnosis.

Bowing out: McCafferty was forced to retire from touring in 2013 after being diagnosed with COPD. 'I can't sing on tour like I used to anymore,' he admitted in a 2014 interview; seen in 2008 in Czech Republic

Bowing out: McCafferty was forced to retire from touring in 2013 after being diagnosed with COPD. 'I can't sing on tour like I used to anymore,' he admitted in a 2014 interview; seen in 2008 in Czech Republic

Bowing out: McCafferty was forced to retire from touring in 2013 after being diagnosed with COPD. ‘I can’t sing on tour like I used to anymore,’ he admitted in a 2014 interview; seen in 2008 in Czech Republic

‘I can’t sing on tour like I used to anymore,’ he said, via USA Today. ‘I figure if you can’t do the job then you really shouldn’t be there…. I’m sad about it but I just can’t sing a whole set live anymore.’

In the same interview, McCafferty reminisced about the band’s mindset early in its existence. 

‘We weren’t trying to be famous or trying to change the world or anything,’ he recalled. ‘We lived in a small town, loved music, and all the guys in the band liked different things. It was the chemistry of everybody that we eventually ended up with.’

McCafferty is survived by his wife Maryann and his two children.

Source: | Dailymail.co.uk

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