The 70’s was the decade that paved the way making it cool to write songs about bitches.
Miles Davis was in the kitchen (albeit not with Dinah) making a brew with a recipe from some bitches.
Hall & Oates were having “issues” in their relationship with a Rich Girl (it’s a bitch, bitch girl…).
The Rolling Stones were in couples therapy as well trying to fix love but it was a bitch alright.
Elton John told us flat out the bitch is back. Yes indeed, the prophecy foretold came true: “the fever’s gonna catch you when the bitch gets back.”
It even became cool to call oneself a bitch. Yes SIRee, Elton admitted his bitchdom long before Meredith Brooks.
However, just like Yoda revealed there was another Skywalker, the bitch saga didn’t end here. Lo and behold she procreated—gestated and nurtured a baby riff which grew into this beautiful top shelf Slut Rock gem from Scotland’s Nazareth.
The song was unassumingly disguised from censors and parents suffering from generalized anxiety with the “fluffy” title, “Hair Of The Dog.” Nonetheless, we were thus aptly forewarned:
Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch.
Nazareth formed back in 1968 in Scotland as a hard rock band. The group’s original lineup consisted of S.O.B. vocalist and Talk Box maestro Dan McCafferty, Manny Charlton on guitar, Pete Agnew on bass, and Darrell Sweet on drums and cowbell.
Nazareth was named after Nazareth, PA not the Bible zip code Jesus’ old hood was located in. They named themselves after the Pennsylvania borough as they were influenced by The Band’s song “The Weight” which mentions “Pulled in to Nazareth…” in its opening verse.
Nazareth, PA is just northeast of Allentown, which Billy Joel sang about, and Nazareth is also home to the C.F. Martin & Company guitar factory. Aside from that, driving through rural Pennsylvania one would see lots of farmland and multitudes of cows roaming the pastures. Just avoid driving through in say July as ripe manure and summer heat do not go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Trust me. I was on the road with a band and we endured a torturous half hour dutch oven of that fermented cowpie cocktail on Interstate 80—windows fully rolled up and AC on full blast could not save us from this unfortuitously fecal fate.
The good news is, I doubt too many people get pulled over by Police in those areas. It’s probably the closet thing America has to an Autobahn save maybe some interstates in Texas where the speed limit is 80 mph, almost legal for Marty and Doc to go back to the 70’s and get down at Studio 54.
Nazareth toured with Deep Purple after their sophomore album Exercises was released (1972). Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover produced their 3rd album Razamanaz in 1973 and continued producing their next two albums Loud ‘N’ Proud (1973) and Rampant (1974).
Hair Of The Dog came out in 1975 and was Nazareth’s 6th and most successful album of their career. Two songs released from the album charted: The self titled track “Hair Of The Dog” served up with cowbell and a cover of The Everly Brothers song “Love Hurts” which became their biggest hit.
“Love Hurts” went platinum and was a top ten hit in 9 countries reaching the #1 spot in 6. Obviously “Love Hurts” if one is messing with a son of a bitch.
“Hair Of The Dog” is one of those songs where the song title is never actually sung or mentioned in the song. It is known better as “Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch.”
Back in high school, I used to play classic rock stations sometimes while I was working out and always dug when this tune came on. I also didn’t know the song was called “Hair Of The Dog” until later.
The album and title track were originally going to be titled “Heir Of The Dog”, a play on words for “son of a bitch.” The record company didn’t like it for whatever reason and it was changed to the spelling “Hair Of The Dog.” So the song’s title is not a reference to the slang idiom “The hair of the dog that bit you” which seems the folk “homeopathic” cure for a hangover—to drink more alcohol to alleviate it.
This 70’s classic rock tune is the kissing cousin to The Beatles “Paperback Writer.” If you know how to play both songs or have a listener’s ear not prone to ADD, you’ll notice the main riff is similar in both:
“Hair Of The Dog” is more laid back and leisurely while “Paperback Writer” has a faster tempo. The first part of the riff is essentially the same notes while the ending differs:
“Hair Of The Dog” is super fun to play and sing—although when I do, I have to plan on not doing much talking for the next few days. It’s a party song, tongue and cheek, sung balls out but maintains a fun playful vibe and doesn’t come off as angry or malicious. And it has cowbell to boot!!
The Hair Metal vocal stylings on “Hair Of The Dog” were a stray puppy back in the 70’s and that spandex & aqua net Lassie came home to the Hair Metal 80’s. Hair Metal may have started with “Hair Of The Dog” , and Hair Metal itself may indeed be the son of that bitch.
Musical geneology wise, I consider “Hair Of The Dog” a proto Hair Metal song. It was early Hair Metal before it’s time and before there was even a genre label for it. You can hear the Dan McCafferty Nazareth stamp a decade later on hair metal bands like the following to name a few:
Cinderella (“Nobody’s Fool”, “Gypsy Road”, “The Last Mile”),
Britny Fox (“Long Way To love”, “Girlschool”)
Kix (“Don’t Close Your eyes”, “Cold Blood”)
Britny Fox even did a cover of “Hair Of The Dog.” The Hair Metal vocal stylings on “Hair Of The Dog” were a stray puppy back in the 70’s and that spandex & aqua net Lassie came home to the Hair Metal 80’s. Hair Metal may have started with “Hair Of The Dog”, and Hair Metal itself may indeed be the son of that bitch.
“Hair Of The Dog” is such a cool tune Guns N’ Roses also did a version of it on their 1993 cover tunes album The Spaghetti Incident? Axl actually wanted Nazareth to play at his wedding but for some reason, they turned down the request. Sometimes life is a son of bitch even for rock stars.
But let’s not let that stop us from playing…(Cowbell and drumroll)
The 6 Degrees of Axl Rose!!
Kevin Bacon won’t mind nor call his lawyer so here goes:
Nazareth was a hard rock band from Scotland. Axl Rose often wears a kilt, the paragon of Scottish men’s fashion.
“Hair Of The Dog” has cowbell; Gun’s N’ Roses “Nightrain” has cowbell.
“Hair Of The Dog” has the word “bitch” in it; Guns N’ Roses “It’s So Easy” has the word “bitch” in it as well.
Nazareth was where Jesus lived and he was crucified on a cross. Axl and the members of Guns N’ Roses were also positioned on a cross on the Appetite For Destruction debut album cover.
Nazareth scored their biggest success with “Love Hurts” first recorded by The Everly Brothers. Axl Rose dated the daughter of one of The Everly Brothers (Erin Everly, daughter of Don Everly). The lyrics of Guns N’ Roses biggest hit, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” are about Erin who also stars in the music video.
Both Nazareth and Guns N’ Roses had their biggest success connected to The Everly Brothers.
Pretty freaky actually Eh? All this from a Scottish band who named themselves after some random place in Pennsylvania. By the way, the slot is still open for band to name themselves “Winslow” after Winslow, Arizona mentioned in The Eagles song “Take It Easy.”
I’ve been to Winslow, and on the famed Route 66 going through downtown, there’s actually a “Standing On The Corner Park” with a red flatbed Ford truck parked by the curb and a mural on the adjoining building facade with an eagle perched atop.
Perhaps Nazareth, PA could up it’s tourist magnetism quotient by having an “Fanny” to take a load off, public benches with seated Fanny statues for selfies, or better yet, install “Entering Nazareth Pennsylvania—Sons of Bitches Welcome” signs on all major throughways entering the town.
On a side note, if this is the same “Fanny” Freddie Mercury sang about in “Fat Bottomed Girls”, she REALLY gets around, having showed up in two different rock songs on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the meantime, wake up and smell the cowbell not the cowpie like I was forced to in rural Pennsylvania.
“Hair Of The Dog” is good ‘ol slutty 70’s rock at it’s finest. It’s another Rock ‘n’ Roll parlay into taking the law into your own hands like Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”
Nazareth cut the ties, disregarded leash laws, and marked it’s territory on a few pop charts around the world with this cowbell classic.
And now we know who let the Hair Metal dogs out and who ate the homework of the Paperback Writer.
© Composer Yoga
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