Former Nazareth frontman Dan McCafferty dead at 76

Dan McCafferty, RIP
(Image credit: Ross Marino/Getty Image)

Dan McCafferty, the former frontman of Scottish hard rock pioneers Nazareth, has died, aged 76. 

News of the Dunfermline-born singer's passing was shared on Facebook by his friend Pete Agnew, the only original Nazareth member still touring with the band.

"Dan died at 12:40 today," Agnew posted on Facebook. "This is the saddest announcement I ever had to make. 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.

Too upset to say anything more at this time."

Born on October 14, 1946, McCafferty co-founded Nazareth with Agnew, guitarist Manny Charlton and drummer Darrell Sweet in 1968, taking influence from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.

The group's best known album, Hair Of The Dog, their sixth long-player, was released in 1975, selling over two million copies worldwide, on the back of the quartet's cover of Boudleaux Bryant’s ballad Love Hurts, previously covered by The Everley Brothers, which was a Top 10 hit in the US. The album's title track, also a hit single, was later covered by Guns N' Roses, on 1993's The Spaghetti Incident?

The singer retired from touring in August 2013, due to health issues. His final album with the band, Rock'n'Roll Telephone, was released in June 2014. Bowing out of the band, McCafferty told Classic Rock, "I could make another record, but getting up to do an hour and three-quarters, and get people to pay money to come and see me – I can’t do that."

"If you can't do the job you shouldn't be there," he explained elsewhere. "Nazareth's too big for that."

Pete Agnew told Classic Rock, "It was Dan himself who said he wanted the band to continue because it’s been his whole life."

Agnew and McCafferty's former bandmate Manny Charlton passed away in July.

Ricky Warwick, frontman of Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy, was one of the first to pay tribute to the singer.

"Very sad to hear of the passing of Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty today," Warwick tweeted. "I was honored to be his company on the Rock Meets Classic Tour in 2016. My thoughts and condolences to his family and close friends."

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Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.