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Dan McCafferty, frontman for rock group Nazareth, dies at 76

He is best known for his searing vocals on the band's cover of "Love Hurts."
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth performs in Liverpool
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth performs in Liverpool, England, in 2012.Ray Kilpatrick / Redferns via Getty Images

Dan McCafferty, the longtime lead singer of the Scottish rock band Nazareth whose searing vocals propelled a cover of the ballad "Love Hurts" into a 1970s hit, has died, his longtime bandmate announced.

McCafferty was 76, Nazareth bassist Pete Agnew said on the band's official Facebook page.

"This is the saddest announcement I ever had to make," Agnew wrote Tuesday. "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."

The raspy-voiced McCafferty certainly had one of the most distinctive and powerful sets of pipes in rock, and he was an inspiration to other heavy metal singers, like Axl Rose of "Guns N' Roses."

"If it wasn’t for Dan McCafferty and Nazareth I wouldn’t be singing," Rose said in a 1988 interview.

McCafferty was a founding member of Nazareth, which was formed in 1968 and took its name from the Pennsylvania city that was featured that year in a song by The Band called "The Weight."

While Nazareth did not enjoy the same worldwide success as rival rock acts that emerged in the 1970s, like Black Sabbath or Deep Purple, McCafferty and his bandmates carved out a niche in the music world with very heavy cover versions of other artists' songs.

"Love Hurts," a ballad first made famous by the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison, as well, became an international hit for Nazareth in 1974.

Nazareth also cranked out other notable covers, like The Yardbirds' "Shape of Things," Joni Mitchell's "This Flight Tonight" and other songs during its heydey in the 1970s.

The band also scored several hits of its own, including "Hair of the Dog," a rock radio staple that continues to get airplay.

While the band went through numerous personnel changes over the years, McCafferty remained its voice until he retired in 2013 and 45 years of touring, citing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as the reason.

“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,” McCafferty said at the time. “If you can’t do the job you shouldn’t be there. Nazareth’s too big for that.”

No cause of death was listed on the band's page.