By Steve Newton
Just heard the sad news, that Manny Charlton passed away yesterday (July 5) in Dallas.
Charlton was the guitarist for Nazareth from its inception in 1968 until 1990.
Like millions of others, I was a huge fan of Nazareth in the ’70s. So much so that–realizing they’d been snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for many years–I inducted them into Newt’s Rock Hall in 2019.
In the Year of Our Lord, 1973, they actually released two albums–Razamanazz in May and Loud ‘n’ Proud in November–that were two of the year’s best hard-rock offerings.
Along with singer Dan McCafferty‘s uniquely raspy vocals, Charlton’s guitar playing was very special. He really went to town on songs like “Razamanaz”, “Go Down Fighting”, “Turn On Your Receiver”, and, of course, Nazareth’s famous version of Joni Mitchell’s “This Flight Tonight”.
And his slide playing on tracks like “Woke Up This Morning” and “Bad Bad Boy” was something that has stayed with me ever since.
Then of course there was 1975’s “Hair of the Dog”, which had a riff so cool that Guns N’ Roses covered the song on their 1993 The Spaghetti Incident? album.
I never got to interview Manny Charlton, but I saw him live a couple of times, and he was right on the money.