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A young Scots guitarist by the name of Jimmy Murrison, who was playing with Pete’s son Lee in the band ‘Trouble in Doggie land’ was contacted by Pete and asked if he would like to join the band, (Pete had seen Jimmy play many times and was very impressed). Jimmy accepted, and became Nazareth’s new guitarist.

He is also a very talented songwriter and quickly became one of the main contributers on that score.

bandboogaloopromoIt was also decided to add a keyboard player to the band once again, so they contacted their old friend Ronnie Leahy, who had played with Pete and Dan in The Party Boys from time to time. Ronnie accepted the offer to join, so now back as a five piece, the band started rehearsing for another world tour to promote the Move Me album.

Revitalized and rocking, 1995/96 saw the band touring the world in support of MoveMe, a tour which took the band to Russia (twice), Europe, Brazil, the U.S., and Canada. Upon returning from their RussiaManaz Part I Tour, the long awaited break Naz had been looking for happened, a signing to major label SPV, which picked the band up for a three record deal.

After the Move Me World Tour ended, the boys headed home to Scotland for a well-earned rest. The band didn’t rest too long before they began rehearsing new material for their 20th studio album, which they began recording in March of 1997. Darrell said at the time that “the new stuff is heavier than No Jive, but it wouldn’t be a Nazareth album without a ballad.” The band began a world tour in July of 1997 to Sweden, Czech Republic, Canada and the U.S.

 

Boogaloo, which featured new members Jimmy Murrison and Ronnie Leahy,was released in 1998, the year that also saw them celebrating 30 years in the business,

(Anniversaries have always have been dated back to 1968 in the Nazareth calendar because that’s when the original 4 members first played together.In actual fact they didn’t become a 4 piece and name the band ‘Nazareth’ until 1970.) Still quite an accomplishment in the world of rock ‘n’ roll.

The release of Boogaloo in Europe on SPV saw critics again raving: it seemed Nazareth were beginning to be noticed once again by the industry. The success of Boogaloo in Europe and the success of The Double Trouble Tour (with Uriah Heep) led to a signing with the U.S. label CMC International.

After several months on the road, the band headed home for a short break. They regrouped to embark on a longer and bigger tour of U.S. and Canada to support the growing success of Boogaloo.

nazareth-darrellAs the Naz machine began climbing to the top again, tragedy struck. On April 30, 1999 founding member and drummer Darrell Sweet died suddenly from a major heart attack.The band had just arrived at the venue for the first show of their Boogaloo Tour when Darrell fell ill. As Darrell stepped off the bus with paramedics, he collapsed and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Shattered, the band understandably cancelled the tour and headed home to Scotland. The future was in limbo for a few months as the families, band, and crew tried to digest what had happened. But after several band meetings, it was decided that Darrell would have wanted them to continue on.

 

They band needed some time to pick up the pieces but there was never any doubt who the new drummer would be, and in fine tribute to Darrell, the band selected Lee Agnew, Pete’s eldest son. He is a very talented drummer and was always a favourite of Darrell who would often watch Lee play in other bands at home. Sometimes when Darrell needed a drum tech and Lee wasn’t busy at home, he would tour with Nazareth and do the job. Obviously after doing that Lee knew all the Nazareth live set inside out. He is also an excellent singer and songwriter and has gone on to play a big part in Nazareth’s ongoing development.

After a few months of rehearsals the band got ready for their first ever tour without Darrell. They amazed everyone who saw them, playing better and stronger than ever,  with Lee winning the hearts and support of Naz fans everywhere. The band enjoyed how well they were playing and the audience acknowledged this everywhere they played! (Darrell is surely smiling with pride!).

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