Dan McCafferty, Nazareth Frontman Who Sang ‘Love Hurts,’ Dies at 76

cigaretteman

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Dan McCafferty, who as the frontman of the Scottish rock band Nazareth scored an international hit in the mid-1970s with the ballad “Love Hurts,” died on Tuesday. He was 76.
The band announced his death online but did not specify where he died or state the cause. Mr. McCafferty was treated for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which led him to retire from Nazareth in 2013.
Mr. McCafferty was not the first to sing “Love Hurts,” but his rendition — vocally scratchy but belted out behind reverberating guitar lines — became the definitive one. The world-weary lyrics emphasize hard lessons learned from heartbreak, but his passionate delivery made the song sound more like a statement of unvarnished desire.
The song came to seem characteristic of a post-hippie era, when male vitality was at the center of rock but the combativeness of heavy metal and punk had not yet become popular. In the movie “Dazed and Confused” (1993), “Love Hurts” plays at a 1970s junior high party in a neighborhood recreation center, where longhaired teens slow dance and furtively neck.
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The song appeared on Nazareth’s 1975 album “Hair of the Dog.” It was written by the country music songwriter Boudleaux Bryant and first released, in a subdued, melodic recording, by the Everly Brothers in 1960. Nazareth took notice of the song thanks to a more soulful 1974 cover by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.

“We recorded it and thought it was great, forgot about it and moved on to do the rest of the album,” Mr. McCafferty said in a reminiscence on the official Nazareth website. The band figured it would be merely a B-side for another single. Then Jerry Moss, a co-founder of A&M Records, heard the song and pronounced it a potential hit. It wound up spending months on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1975 and 1976, peaking at No. 8.
William Daniel McCafferty was born on Oct. 14, 1946, in Dunfermline, a small city in southwest Scotland. That was where Nazareth was founded in the 1960s, originally as the Shadettes, a band that did covers of rock numbers and R&B standards.
The group adopted the name Nazareth in 1970 while listening to the Band’s 1968 hit “The Weight,” which begins: “I pulled in to Nazareth/Was feeling ’bout half past dead.”
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While Nazareth did not have another song that achieved the wide recognition of “Love Hurts,” the group developed a base of fans who loved the stadium-rock style of much of their 1970s music. Other popular Nazareth songs include “This Flight Tonight,” a cover of a Joni Mitchell song, and “Razamanaz,” a hard rock original.
Mr. McCafferty’s survivors include his wife, Maryann.
In an interview posted on The Steel Mill, an online publication hosted on the website of British rock musician K.K. Downing, Mr. McCafferty was asked if he could tell when he had a hit song on his hands in the studio.
“You never know,” he said. “You are just making music. And when the record’s coming out, it’s just the case of what tastes best.”

 

Thunderlips71

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Wasn’t he also on Hayden Fry’s staff as well as the head coach at Iowa State? A man of many talents!
 

ZachJump

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Hair of the Dog has always been a go to album...but outside that one album...never have had anything done by Nazareth stick with me.

Have always wanted someone to use the chorus from Hair of the Dog as their walk up song :)
 

SSG T

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I've always thought it was funny that songs now get edited or beeped. When I was younger, songs like Who Are You, Money, Hair of the Dog, etc would get unedited air time on the KGGO's of the world.
 

bagdropper

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Back when I was younger, it seemed that every damn middling hard rock tour that went through Iowa had Nazareth as the opener. If you were a promotor and you have a supposedly "weak" headliner tour need a strong opener...Nazareth fit that bill perfect.

They were good live - I thought the best of a handful of shows I saw of theirs was the 1979 Iowa Jam (Jay Ferguson, Head East, Nazareth, Ted Nugent). They got a full hour and were pretty damn good that day.

Hair of the Dog was a damn good album - one of the 1st 10 albums I bought as a kid, one of the 1st 10 CD's I bought too. An earlier post said it best though, they never had an album that truly matched that artistic success.

My favorite song of theirs...

 

stillh8unlv

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Back when I was younger, it seemed that every damn middling hard rock tour that went through Iowa had Nazareth as the opener. If you were a promotor and you have a supposedly "weak" headliner tour need a strong opener...Nazareth fit that bill perfect.

They were good live - I thought the best of a handful of shows I saw of theirs was the 1979 Iowa Jam (Jay Ferguson, Head East, Nazareth, Ted Nugent). They got a full hour and were pretty damn good that day.

Hair of the Dog was a damn good album - one of the 1st 10 albums I bought as a kid, one of the 1st 10 CD's I bought too. An earlier post said it best though, they never had an album that truly matched that artistic success.

My favorite song of theirs...

Besides the biggies, this is my faves. Guy had a voice made for rock and roll.

This has to be one of the weirdest videos known to man....hot chick in space, weird Star Wars knock off characters, some massive prehistoric cell phone.....it has it all. Not sure what they were on but it had to be something good.