Love Hurts

What the man with the ridiculous hair said. Agreed.

Here we can see how stylistic approach to a simple song can make the difference between mawkish and profound. It’s a general rule of thumb that large-haired hard rock bands don’t usually wipe the floor with older, more respected artists, but Nazareth breaks that rule. The Everly Brothers’ original recording is pretty, yes, and their vocals are as angelic as usual. Which is exactly the problem. The high-school-slow-dance arrangement, their gently tremulous voices, the waltzy tempo; it’s syrupy and trite, washed clean of anything like human emotion, just another vaguely pleasant pop song to awkwardly sip punch to and instantly forget. Roy Orbison’s rendition is only slightly better. Orbison’s voice can turn any material into something memorable, but again, a soggy violin-heavy arrangement sends the song straight to schmaltz city. There’s a reason why Nazareth’s Love Hurts is the best and most famous. It’s the only one that has real feeling. Dan McCafferty makes The Everlys sound like goofs. He doesn’t sound pretty – and he definitely doesn’t look it – but imperfection is exactly what the song  needs to pass from merely alright to classic. It needs a balls-out emotional performance, it needs a voice that cracks and breaks, it needs to be delivered by someone who means every word of it. And of course, for those of us with rock’n’roll hearts, it needs a guitar solo, not a bunch of fucking limp-dick violins.


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