Manny Charlton, Nazareth Rocker, Dead at 80

Manny Charlton, founding guitarist of the legendary rock band Nazareth, has reportedly died. He was 80 years old at the time of his death. Ultimate Classic Rock reported that Charlton's grandson shared the news on Facebook, posting a photo of his late grandfather and writing "RIP Grandad" in a caption. At this time, no cause of death has been reported.

Originally born in Spain in 1941, Charlton's family migrated to Scotland as a child. He eventually picked up the guitar and played in a few bands as a young adult, before helping found Nazareth in 1968. The band's original lineup was rounded out by vocalist Dan McCafferty, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet. Charlton played on the band's first seventeen albums, eventually leaving the group in 1990 and going solo. Notably, Agnew remains the only original Nazareth member still in the band today.

In a statement on Charlton's death, Agnew wrote, "Sadly I have to tell you that Manny Charlton died on Tuesday (5th July) in Texas. There were no details available at the time of writing but I believe his death was sudden and not illness related." He added, per Blabbermouth, "Manny was there from the very beginning of NAZARETH so we all came up together through the tough times and through the wonderfully successful years as the band became an international acclaimed outfit. His contribution as a musician was immeasurable."

He continued, "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 produced several other bands and found his 'racket' a few times along the way but the one he was most proud of was 'Love Hurts', one of the best sounding records of all time and one of the songs on his first album as a producer.

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Agnew then added, "We had our ups and downs over the years but we never once disagreed about the music." The bassist concluded his statement, "I would like to offer condolences on behalf of the NAZARETH family to Manny's own family ... our thoughts are with you at this sad time."