Nazareth – Hair Of The Dog

Oh, those pesky record companies – not letting Scottish rockers Nazareth give their 1975 album and the eponymous song from it, “Hair Of The Dog” its originally intended name. Not to worry. They had a plan “B.”

“Hair of the dog” is a phrase that refers to an old-time medicinal remedy for animal bites. It was once belief that if you applied a salve with some part of the animal mixed in it – the “hair of the dog that bit you,” for example – it would help heal the wound. This later made its way to metaphorically refer to a shot of booze in the morning as a cure for a hangover. The title to this album has nothing to do with either.

Nazareth originally wanted to name their sixth album “Son Of A Bitch” but A&M records was having none of that. The band decided to do a play on words to give the album a title alluding to what they wanted it to be. The phrase “Heir Of The Dog”, is a homonym for the actual album title (well, at least if you prononce it the way a Scotsman would). What Nazareth is referring to with “Hair Of The Dog” is atually “Heir Of The Dog.” Quite literally, a (male) heir of a (female) dog is a son of a bitch. 

So…yeah…take that, record company.

“Hair Of The Dog” is Nazareth’s most successful album. It has sold over two million copies. It spawned numerous hits for the band, including the title track. 

Only the U.S. version of the album contains one of the biggest hits from the album, a cover version of the Everly Brothers’ “Love Hurts.” On all copies sold outside the U.S., that song was replaced by a cover version of “Guilty” by Randy Newman. I think the U.S. got the better deal on that one.