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70s chart-topping hard rockers Nazareth to lead off Peach Fest

How was a hard rock band supposed to make a name for itself in an era populated by some of the finest bands of all time? Names like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Aerosmith, all of which were in their prime.

<who>Photo Credit: Dagmar Heinrich-Hoppen</who> Nazareth

But somehow in the mid-1970s, a group of four guys out of Scotland were able to do just that. They called themselves Nazareth and they exploded onto the scene in 1973 with an album called "Razamanaz."

Two songs from that album – "Bad Bad Boy" and "Broken Down Angel" -- charted, though we remember (yes, we're that old) slightly heavier numbers like "Woke up this Morning" and the drums-forward banger "Razamanaz."

Later that same year came "Loud'N'Proud," with the band's true breakthrough single, a memorable remake of a Joni Mitchell song called "This Flight Tonight." Nazareth's highly electrified take on the tune was virtually inescapable for the next few months and years.

<who>Photo Credit: Peach Fest</who> Nazareth

The hits kept coming over the next couple years. Arguably the biggest was another remake, this time of a tune originally written in the early 1960s called "Love Hurts." But the band wrote their own hits too, like "Hair of the Dog," "My White Bicycle" and "Shanghai'd in Shanghai."

Now 50 years later, Narareth will make its way to Penticton to open the 2024 Peach Festival on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

And yes, that means we all get to see the band for free. Not a bad deal at all for a name of this magnitude.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Scene from 2023 Peach Fest

Granted, today's lineup is far different from that of the glory years. Original guitarist Many Charlton retired from the band in 1990 and passed away in 2022. Original drummer Darrell Sweet died while on tour in 1999 at the age of 51. And original singer, the raspy-voiced Dan McCafferty, quit the band in 2103 due to health issues and, like Charlton, passed away in 2022.

The good news is that Nazareth soldiers on, with original bassist Pete Agnew, now 77 years old, leading the way.

Also on board for the current generation is Jimmy Murrison, the longest-serving guitarist in the band's history, Pete Agnew's son Lee on drums, and veteran British rock and metal vocalist Carl Sentance, who joined the band in 2015.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Scene from 2023 Peach Fest

We checked out a few YouTube videos of the modern iteration of Nazareth and think they do a pretty good job of replicating the original flavour and sound. That includes Sentance, who is a convincing McCafferty replacement.

Joining Nazareth will be The Phonix Dance Band, presented by the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

<who>Photo Credit: Peach Fest</who> The Phonix Dance Band

The nine-piece dance/party band boasts Grammy, Juno and CCMA award-winning members who've shared stages with musical icons such as Quincy Jones, Village People, Bif Naked, Jo Jo Mason, and Hey Ocean.

We've been lucky enough to catch the Phonix Dance Band a couple times in concert. They're a high-energy, musically astute party machine.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Scene from 2023 Peach Fest

"We're thrilled to welcome the legendary Nazareth and the phenomenal Phonix Dance Band to the Penticton Peach Festival," said Penticton Peach Festival President Shawna Tinga. "This promises to be an epic night of music and celebration, setting the tone for an unforgettable Peach Festival."

For more info on Peach Fest 2024, turn here.

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