If there was ever such a musical genre as hoodlum rock, it’s a safe bet that the most vicious skirmishes of the 70s would involve either Thin Lizzy or Nazareth. These were men’s men; hard-nosed ne’er-do-wells who loved a good punch-up and shaved with broken beer bottles. Probably.
Dunfermline’s Nazareth were, in many ways, the antithesis of glam, yet the band’s street tough image and menacing scowls belied an instrumental dexterity beyond the typical blues and heavy rock of similar outfits of the time. Their 1973 album Razamanaz, which spawned the hit singles Broken Down Angel and Bad Bad Boy, was packed with the crunching power chords you might expect, but Manny Charlton’s guitar took off on more elaborate flights of fancy, while Dan McCafferty’s vocal wail alternated between ferocity and delicacy.
A surprising cover of Joni Mitchell’s This Flight Tonight continued the chart run, as did a disarmingly tender reading of The Everly Brothers’ Love Hurts Their ultimate legacy, however, was cemented by aggressive live shows and venomous rockers such as Shanghai’d In Shanghai and Hair Of The Dog.