Nazareth’s 1977 BBC “Sight & Sound” concert: “Now you’re messin’ with a…a son of a bitch!”

By on May 21, 2018

Nazareth: From the Beginning features the 1977 BBC “Sight & Sound” live concert by Scotland’s hard rockin’ foursome best known for their massive mid-70s one-two combination, the power ballad hit single “Love Hurts” and its b-side, the cowbell-driven title track from 1975’s Hair of the Dog (“Now you’re messin’ with a… a son of a bitch!”)

Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.

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The entire 1977 concert that aired on BBC’s “Sight & Sound” — save for their performance “Gone Dead Train,” the Randy Newman rocker from Nicolas Roeg’s and Donald Cammell’s Performance, which Nazareth had covered for their then-new album, Expect No Mercy – is preceded by band photos and voiceover narration from longtime guitarist & producer Manny Charlton.

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The songs performed include:”Telegram,” “Razamanaz,” “I Want To Do Everything For You,” “Night Woman,” “Born To Love,” “Love Hurts,” “Kentucky Fried Blues,” “Expect No Mercy,” “This Flight Tonight,” “Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman,” “Hair Of The Dog” (featuring rough-hewn lead vocalist Dan McCafferty on modified amplified bagpipes!), and, an an encore, “Teenage Nervous Breakdown.”

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As mentioned above, Nazareth’s biggest success on the global stage was their smash hit version of the Boudleaux Bryant-penned “Love Hurts,” a heartfelt ballad that had been a hit for the Everly Brothers in 1960 (Nazareth have said they preferred Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris‘s version, though).

“Love Hurts” peaked at #8 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in March of ’76, three months after its release as a U.S. single.

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“Love Hurts” went on to become a hit on AOR radio stations and we’re certain you’ve heard the track since then in dozens of movies, including Heavy Metal (1981) and Dazed and Confused (1993), and jillions of TV sitcoms, soaps and dramas too, particularly when a main character is heartbroken and pining over a lost love.

Guns N’ Roses even recorded it for their covers album, The Spaghetti Incident?, but when Axl Rose asked Nazareth to perform it at his 1990 wedding to Erin Everly (daughter of the Everly Brothers’ Phil Everly), they declined.

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“Love Hurts” only reached #77 in the UK, and not until 1977, but it would top the singles charts in Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa.

It was also a massive #1 hit in Norway for fourteen weeks straight, making it the top single of all time in that country, charting there for 61 weeks total.

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Traffic’s Jim Capaldi rushed into the studio to record his own version after he heard “Love Hurts” on the radio for the first time.

His single — it competed with their version in some radio markets — only made it to #97 US in December of 1975.

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The U.S. single’s b-side, “Hair of the Dog,” was also a classic rock hit, peaking at #44, despite the borderline profane language.

It wasn’t about drinking more alcohol to cure a hangover, though: the title was actually a clever pun on “heir of the dog,” another way of saying “son of a bitch,” if you think about it.

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Read more about Nazareth below.

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Nazareth formed in December 1968 in Dunfermline, in the west of Fife on Scotland’s northern shore (also the hometown of Big Country‘s Stuart Adamson, the Skids’ Richard Jobson, and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson).

Dan McCafferty (vocals, talk box/bagpipes), Manuel “Manny” Charlton (guitars, synths), Pete Agnew (bass, backing vocals) and Darrell Sweet (drums, cowbell, tambourine, backing vocals) had been playing together since the early ’60s as the Shadettes, in the same Scottish beat scene that included the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, the Poets, Stone the Crows and the Average White Band.

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According to bassist Pete Agnew in Brian Hogg’s 1993 History of Scottish Rock and Pop, they were standing in the foyer of Dunfermline’s Belville Hotel in 1968 when the Band‘s “The Weight” began playing.

After hearing its first line “I pulled into Nazareth… “ they decided right then and there that Nazareth was a better band name for them.

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Ultimately they moved to London, catching the eyes and ears of Pegasus Records, a subsidiary of the short-lived B&C Records label (May 1969-September 1972).

Pegasus released Nazareth’s self-titled debut — engineered by future Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker — in late 1971 (Baker produced their next album too (1972’s Grateful Dead-ish Exercises).

In the album’s inner-sleeve, they dared to compare themselves to the Faces, Led Zeppelin and the Who, bands who, in their words, “had something to offer their audiences other than music.”

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Their first big breakthrough came in 1973 when Deep Purple’s Roger Glover produced their third album, Razamanaz, their first release on another B&C subsidiary, called Mooncrest (Nazareth often toured with Deep Purple).

Razamanaz gave Nazareth their first Top Ten UK hits, “Broken Down Angel” and “Bad Bad Boy.”

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It was during this period that Nazareth also had hits with their own heavy blues-rock based covers of  Joni Mitchell’s “This Flight Tonight” (#11 UK) and Tomorrow’s “My White Bicycle” (# 14 UK in 1975).

1974’s Rampant was the last of the three albums Glover would produce for the band (he also helmed 1973’s Loud ‘N’ Proud).

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By now, Nazareth were poised for their biggest success, signing with Vertigo in the UK, and A&M Records in the U.S..

Their sixth studio album, the Manny Charlton-produced Hair of the Dog, would end up selling over two million copies worldwide.

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’70s bands like Aerosmith may have taken their rock template to its zenith by the decades end — consistently giving FM rock radio charting power ballad hits while simultaneously giving loyal fans a lot of churning boogie-rock album tracks that sounded great live — but Nazareth actually got there first.

Watch Nazareth: From the Beginning on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.