The band that defined romantic angst for many teenagers in the 1970s will perform in Red Deer on Friday, July 20, during Westerner Days.
Nazareth’s emotive cover of Love Hurts was played at tons of school dances in its day — the line “love is just a lie” ringing true for anyone who watched their crush waltz under the mirror ball with somebody else.
The melodic ballad was written by Boudleux and Felice Bryant in 1960 for the Everly Brothers.
A year later, it was also recorded by Roy Orbison — no slouch at delivering tear-jerking lyrics.
But somehow Nazareth’s high-voiced singer, Dan McCafferty, managed in 1975 to wring that extra dollop of emotion from the song about heart-break.
And all that naked pain and angst catapulted his version of Love Hurts to the top of music charts in 16 countries around the world.
Love Hurts captured the No. 1 spot in Canada and was in the Top 10 in the U.S., where it went platinum in sales.
But long before MacCafferty began singing about love’s scars, wounds and burns, he decided to start a new band with some of the leftover members of a 1961 group called The Shadettes in Dunfermline, Scotland.
Nazareth was founded in 1968 by big-haired McCafferty, as well as guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew and drummer Darrell Sweet.
The group was named after Nazareth, Penn., which was mentioned in the first line of The Band’s classic song The Weight (“Pulled into Nazareth, was feeling about half-past dead . . .”).
The group’s first couple of albums after moving to London, England, garnered some attention.
But it was Nazareth’s third record, Razamanaz in 1973, that spawned two U.K. hits: Broken Down Angel and Bad, Bad Boy.
This was followed by two covers by the band that became hits across the Atlantic — Joni Mitchell’s This Flight Tonight and Tomorrow’s My White Bicycle.
The band’s international reputation was cemented with Nazareth’s 1975 recording, Hair of the Dog.
Not only did the title track become a 1970s radio staple, the album contained Love Hurts, a Top 10 hit in nine countries, including Norway, where it spent a staggering 60 weeks on the charts.
Nazareth went through a few lineup changes in the 1980s and 1990s, but continued to put out albums, including Malice in Wonderland, which contained the single Holiday.
In 1981, the band contributed the tune Crazy (A Suitable Case for Treatment) to the soundtrack of the film Heavy Metal.
Now well into its fourth decade of performing, Nazareth remains popular — particularly in Europe, where Dream On became a hit single.
And a sort of tribute was paid to the group in 1993 when Guns N’ Roses covered Hair of the Dog on The Spaghetti Incident? album.
The current lineup includes McCafferty, as well as Agnew, Jimmy Murrison on guitar and Lee Agnew on drums. Lee is Pete’s son, who stepped in after the group’s original drummer, Sweet, died of a heart attack while on a tour of the U.S. in 1999.
The 8:30 p.m. concert in the Centrium is free with fair admission. Seating is on a first-come basis.