Nazareth Founding Guitarist, Manny Charlton, Dies

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Manny Charlton (Photo via Nazareth’s Facebook page)

Manny Charlton, the founding guitarist for the Scottish rock band Nazareth, died on July 5, 2022, in Texas, at age 80. The news was shared on July 6 by his grandson, Jamie Charlton, and later by the band’s founding bassist Pete Agnew on the group’s Facebook page. Further details were not available though Agnew noted that Charlton’s death was “sudden and not illness related.”

Nazareth were formed in 1968 in Dunfermline, Scotland, by Charlton, Agnew, vocalist Dan McCafferty, and drummer Darrell Sweet, all members of a local band the Shadettes. The new band took their name from the Pennsylvania town referred to in The Band’s song from earlier that year, “The Weight.” After their first two albums failed to chart, they began to earn success in their native U.K. with Deep Purple’s Roger Glover producing.

Things changed in 1975 with the release of Hair of the Dog, with Charlton taking over production chores. The album included a cover of “Love Hurts,” previously recorded by the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, and as a duet by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons.

Nazareth recorded it as a power ballad and it ultimately reached #8 in the U.S. on the Hot 100. It would be their only U.S. hit, and it helped the album achieve Platinum sales. They charted 11 singles in the U.K.

“Manny was there from the very beginning,” wrote Agnew, “so we all came up together through the tough times and through the wonderfully successful years as the band became an international[ly] acclaimed outfit.

Nazareth performing in the mid-1970s (L-R: Manny Charlton, Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew)

“His contribution as a musician was immeasurable.Not only was he a team player who loved jamming for hours at a time with the band and then sifting through the tapes for even more hours just looking to find the tiniest usable idea, he was never happier than when he was sitting in the producers chair making records and searching for that special ‘racket’ [noise] as he called it, that he was always trying to create.

“He was most proud of ‘Love Hurts,’ one of the best sounding records of all time and one of the songs on his first album as a producer.

“We had our ups and downs over the years but we never once disagreed about the music.” Charlton departed the band in 1990.

Charlton was born on July 25, 1941, in southern Spain and moved with his family to Scotland when he was two. In 1986, while still with Nazareth, he was hired by Guns N’ Roses to produce demos for their debut album. Although they were ultimately not used for Appetite For Destruction, they were subsequently released in an expanded 2018 reissue. Charlton had an extensive solo career following his departure from Nazareth. His 2014 album, Hellacious, featured Tim Bogert, Vivian Campbell, Steven Adler, and others.

Related: Musicians that we’ve lost in 2022

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3 Comments so far

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    #1 SHE WHO DANCES 7 July, 2022, 00:18

    my older relatives spoke about nazareth’s version of This flight tonight in 1972/73?? i heard it and love it! they were great!

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  2. TexasTea
    #2 TexasTea 7 July, 2022, 02:33

    R.I. P. Manny. I got to meet Manny and buy lunch for him right outside of Dallas a few years ago. you forgot to mention the excellent vocalist on Manny’s ‘ Hellacious’ album , her name is Robin Delarenzo. That to me, is the best one he ever did and her vocals are amazing.

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  3. Dove
    #3 Dove 2 August, 2022, 18:23

    I discovered Nazareth in the 80s when I was 17 and dating a guy 10 years older who had a few of their cassette tapes. I loved the music and ended up buying almost all of their albums (on cassette tape) and even got to see them, twice, in concert at the Commodore in Vancouver.
    Now I keep my fave songs of theirs online and will no doubt listen to them the rest of my life. RIP Manny and Darrell

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