Always full of energy, if sometimes understandably grumpy, Manny Charlton, the founder member of Scottish legends NAZARETH, unexpectedly passed away on July 5th at the age of 80. Having left the band in 1990 with a prospect of retirement – that never really happened – he remained the beloved guitarist by a lot of followers, even those who didn’t know about Charlton’s role in picking cover songs – such as “Beggars Day” or “Love Hurts” – which made the ensemble’s as famous as their own pieces spearheaded by Manny’s highly memorable riffs – like “Razamanaz” and “Hair Of The Dog” which many a younger group, including GUNS N’ ROSES, would choose to cover
Axl Rose, inspired by the “Hair Of The Dog” LP and Charlton’s skills as its producer, even wanted the veteran to work on the album that ended up as “Appetite For Destruction” – and Manny obliged, only to abandon the sessions because of his duties with NAZ, but for every heavy lick he delivered on the “We Are Animals” ilk there was a soft ballad he came up with, and for every light number in the vein of “Place In Your Heart” there was an uncharacteristic track, including “Let Me Be Your Leader” which properly introduced reggae to the hard rock classic’s repertoire. As for spending time away from the stage, the guitarist might have taken a sabbatical when he temporarily moved to Spain, where Manny was born, yet when Charlton relocated to Texas, where he would die, he began recorded anew, with a band bearing his name and solo. Manny’s records presented an alluring mélange of originals and covers, cuts on "Sharp" perfectly reflecting his approach to music, and Charlton has never been averse to playing with fellow artists, contributing to THE FLUFFY JACKETS’ "Fighting Demons" alongside Neil Murray among other projects he was involved in.
But above all, Manny was a wonderful person who will be sorely missed.