Scottish rocker Dan McCafferty died on Tuesday aged 76. The Nazareth founder won worldwide acclaim for his powerful, blues-laced vocals, and leaves behind a wife, two children, and five decades of hard rock hits.
“Dan died at 12:40 today,” Pete Agnew, McCafferty’s friend and Nazareth bassist, wrote 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 in Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1946, McCafferty founded Nazareth with Agnew in 1968. The groups’ first two albums failed to chart, and it wasn’t until 1973’s ‘Razamanaz’ that the group first found commercial success.
Two successful records – 1973’s ‘Loud ‘n’ Proud’ and 1974’s ‘Rampant’ followed, but the group exploded into the mainstream with 1975’s ‘Hair of the Dog’, an album featuring the now-classic single ‘Love Hurts’. The track was the band’s only US Top Ten hit, and went on to become a staple of 1970s rock radio, while the album went double platinum.
McCafferty retired from his frontman duties in 2013. Guitarist Manny Charlton stepped down in 1990 and died in July of this year, while drummer Darrell Sweet passed away in 1999. While Nazareth is still touring and releasing music, Agnew is the last living founding member.
McCafferty retired due to his struggles with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While he continued to sing and perform occasionally in the years since, he told Classic Rock magazine that he could no longer handle the rigors of performing with a rock band.
“If you can't do the job you shouldn't be there,” he explained. “Nazareth's too big for that.”
In 2019, McCafferty released ‘Last Testament’, his third and final solo album.