The Classic Ballad The Everly Brothers Never Released as a Single That Turned Into a Hit for Nazareth, “Love Hurts”

Before Nazareth had a hit with their Hair of the Dog title track, the Scottish rockers reached the top 10 internationally with “Love Hurts.” The cover of the Everly Brothers‘ 1960 song, “Love Hurts” became Nazareth’s biggest hit, parking at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The big hit on ‘Hair of the Dog’ was ‘Love Hurts’ in America,” said Nazareth bassist Pete Agnew in 2018. “It was only recorded on the American copy. When we recorded ‘Love Hurts,’ we recorded it as a B-side. It wasn’t on the album.”

Before Nazareth released their harder rock version, “Love Hurts” was recorded by the Everly Brothers for their fourth album A Date with the Everly Brothers but was never released as a single. In 1961, the duo’s then-manager Wesley Rose took “Love Hurts” to his other client, Roy Orbison, who released it as the B-side to his No. 1 “Running Scared.”

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[RELATED: The Meaning Behind Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog” That Never Involved a Hangover Cure]

LONDON – 7th JUNE: Scottish rock band Nazareth posed by The Mall in London on 7th June 1972. Left to right: guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, vocalist Dan McCafferty, and drummer Darrell Sweet. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

Songwriters Cut

Initially, the Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, wanted to release “Love Hurts” as a single but were dealing with a legal dispute with Rose and his publishing company Acuff-Rose. When the brothers moved to Warner Bros. in 1960, Rose wanted the duo to release singles under the ownership of his publishing company. After their falling out with Rose the brothers were cut off from Acuff-Rose songwriters, including the “Love Hurts” songwriting duo Boudleaux Bryant.

“Wesley covered us with Roy Orbison, which was outlandishly selfish,” said Don Everly in Roger White’s 1998 book Walk Right Back: The Everly Brothers On Warner Bros. “The arrangement was ours, and it was written for us. We couldn’t release it as a single because we didn’t know if Acuff-Rose would license it or not because we were in a lawsuit with them. It got that bitter.”

Scars and Marks

Penned by the husband and wife duo Boudleaux Bryant (Felice Bryant and Diadorius Boudleaux Bryant)—also behind the Everly Brothers’ hits “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Bye Bye Love”—”Love Hurts” sketches all the wounds, scars, and marks it can leave on the heart.

Love hurts, love scars
Love wounds and marks
Any heart
Not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts
Ooh, ooh, love hurts

I’m young, I know, but even so
I know a thing or two
I learned from you
I really learned a lot, really learned a lot
Love is like a flame
It burns you when it’s hot
Love hurts
Ooh, ooh, love hurts

Some fools think of happiness
Blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves, I guess
They’re not foolin’ me

‘Love is Like a Flame’

In 1965, the Everly Brothers released a different version of “Love Hurts” on their album Rock’n Soul. A decade later when Nazareth released it on their sixth album Hair of the Dog in 1975, the band changed the original lyric Love is like a stove / It burns you when it’s hot was changed to Love is like a flame / It burns you when it’s hot.

By the time Nazareth released their version of “Love Hurts,” the Everly Brothers had been broken up for three years. When they reunited in 1983, Phil and Don added the song to their setlist for the first time.

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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