Denny Laine

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Denny Laine
Denny Laine on stage with Wings in 1976
Denny Laine on stage with Wings in 1976
Background information
Birth nameBrian Frederick Hines
Born (1944-10-29) 29 October 1944 (age 75)
Tyseley, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
Instruments
Years active1957–present
Labels
Associated acts

Denny Laine (born Brian Frederick Hines; 29 October 1944) is an English musician, singer, and songwriter, known as a founder of two major British rock bands: The Moody Blues, with whom he played from 1964-66, and Paul McCartney and Wings, with whom he played from 1971-81. Laine has worked with a variety of artists and groups over a six decade career, and continues to record and perform as a solo artist. In 2018, Laine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Moody Blues.[1]

Early years[edit]

Laine was born in Tyseley, Birmingham, where he attended Yardley Grammar School, and took up the guitar as a boy, inspired by gypsy jazz musician Django Reinhardt. He gave his first solo performance as a musician at the age of 12, and began his career as a professional musician, fronting Denny Laine and The Diplomats, which also included Bev Bevan, future drummer with Move and Electric Light Orchestra.[2] Hines changed his name because he felt 'Brian Frederick Hines and the Diplomats...wouldn't work', instead taking the surname of his sister's idol, the singer Frankie Laine. The first name Denny came from the fact that at the time 'everyone had a backyard, and a den to hang out. I think I got that nickname there.'[3]

Career[edit]

The Moody Blues[edit]

In 1964, Laine left The Diplomats, and shortly afterwards, he received a call from Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder to form a new band, The M&B 5, which eventually was changed to The Moody Blues.[4] He sang lead vocal on the group's first big hit, "Go Now"; other early highlights included another UK hit, "I Don't Want To Go On Without You", and the two minor UK chart hits "From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)" and "Everyday", both written by Laine and Pinder. Laine also sang on "Can't Nobody Love You" and "Bye Bye Bird", the latter of which was a hit in France. A self-titled EP and the album The Magnificent Moodies followed, on Decca records. Laine and Pinder wrote most of the band's B-sides during the period 1965–66, such as "You Don't (All the Time)", "And My Baby's Gone" and "This Is My House". However, Laine's tenure with The Moody Blues was relatively short-lived, and after a number of comparative chart failures, Laine quit in October 1966.[5] He was replaced by Justin Hayward. The last record issued by The Moody Blues that featured Laine was "Life's Not Life" b/w "He Can Win", in January 1967.[6]

A compilation album of singles and album tracks of the early Moody Blues, led by Denny Laine, was released in 2006 under the title An Introduction to The Moody Blues.[7]

Electric String Band and early solo career[edit]

In December 1966, after leaving The Moody Blues, Laine formed the Electric String Band, which featured himself on guitar and vocals, Trevor Burton (of the Move) on guitar, Viv Prince (formerly of Pretty Things) on drums, Binky McKenzie on bass guitar, and electrified strings in a format not dissimilar to what Electric Light Orchestra would later achieve. In June 1967, the Electric String Band shared a bill with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Procol Harum at the Saville Theatre in London. However, they did not achieve national attention, and soon broke up.

At the same time, Laine recorded two singles as a solo artist, both released on the Deram label: "Say You Don't Mind" b/w "Ask The People" (April 1967) and "Too Much in Love" b/w "Catherine's Wheel" (January 1968). Both failed to chart, although "Say You Don't Mind" became a Top 20 hit in 1972, when recorded by former Zombies front-man Colin Blunstone.

Balls and Ginger Baker's Air Force[edit]

Laine and Burton then went on to join the band Balls, from February 1969 until their break-up in 1971, with both also taking time to play in Ginger Baker's Air Force in 1970.[8] Only one single was issued by Balls, on UK Wizard Records: "Fight for My Country" b/w "Janie, Slow Down".[8] The top side was re-edited and reissued on UK Wizard, and in the United States on Epic, under the name of Trevor Burton; he and Laine shared lead vocals on the B-side. The single was reissued again as B.L.W. as Live in the Mountains for 'Paladin', a small label distributed by Pye Records. Twelve tracks were recorded for a Balls album, but it has never been released.[8]

Wings[edit]

In 1971, Laine joined forces with Paul and Linda McCartney to form Wings,[4] and he remained with the group for 10 years until they disbanded in 1981. Laine provided lead and rhythm guitars, lead and backing vocals, keyboards, bass guitar and woodwinds, in addition to writing or co-writing some of the group's material. Laine and the McCartneys were the nucleus of the band and were reduced to a trio twice: the most acclaimed Wings album, Band on the Run, and the majority of material released upon London Town, were written and recorded by Wings as a trio. Laine was also a frequent contributor to the songwriting process and as lead vocalist. He wrote and sang several songs himself ("Time to Hide", "Again and Again and Again"), co-wrote a number of compositions on Band on the Run and London Town, and sang lead vocals on McCartney's songs in full ("The Note You Never Wrote") or in part ("I Lie Around", "Picasso's Last Words", "Spirits of Ancient Egypt", and "Silly Love Songs"). During Wings' live concerts, Laine often performed "Go Now", his hit with the Moody Blues, and original composition "Time to Hide".

During his time in Wings, Laine also released two solo albums, Ahh...Laine (1973) and Holly Days (1977), the latter of which was also recorded by Wings core trio of Laine and the McCartneys.

With Wings, Laine enjoyed the biggest commercial and critical successes of his career. The non-album single "Mull of Kintyre" co-written with McCartney, became a hit, reaching #1 in the UK charts in 1977 and being the highest-selling single in that country until 1984. "Deliver Your Children" (from the album London Town), similarly co-written with McCartney and sung by Laine,[9] was released as a double A-side with "I've Had Enough" in The Netherlands, where it charted at No. 13.[10]

In January 1980, after Wings leader McCartney was arrested for possession of marijuana, on arrival at an airport in Japan where they were booked to perform a sell-out tour, the band's future became uncertain. Laine released his third solo album, Japanese Tears, with the title track as the single;[11][12] it included several songs recorded by Wings over the years. (Laine also formed the short-lived Denny Laine Band with Wings' final drummer Steve Holley.) Though Wings briefly reunited in late 1980, on 27 April 1981, Laine announced he was leaving Wings, due to McCartney's reluctance to tour in the wake of the murder of John Lennon.[13]

Solo career[edit]

Denny Laine performing at the Cavern Club in 2008

After leaving Wings, Laine signed with Scratch Records and released a new album, Anyone Can Fly in 1982. He also worked on McCartney's albums Tug of War and Pipes of Peace and he co-wrote one more song with McCartney, "Rainclouds" (issued as the B-side of the No. 1 single "Ebony and Ivory").[14]

Laine continued to release solo albums through the 1980s, such as Hometown Girls, Wings on My Feet, Lonely Road and Master Suite. In 1996, he released two albums, Reborn; and an album of reworkings of Wings songs, entitled Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine.

From 1997 to 2002, he toured with the rock supergroup World Classic Rockers. He left the World Classic Rockers and now tours with The Denny Laine Band, and teams up with other bands on occasion.[15]

Laine's latest solo release is the 2008 album The Blue Musician. He has also written a musical, Arctic Song.

He has been featured in three fanzines, including Ahh Laine.

Personal life[edit]

Laine was briefly married to Jo Jo Laine, with whom he had a son, Laine, and a daughter, Heidi. He has three other children from other relationships: Lucianne Grant (with Helen, daughter of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant), Damian James (with model Catherine James)[16] and Ainsley Laine-Adams.[17] Laine moved to the United States in the mid 1990s, and lives in the New York City area with his girlfriend, Elizabeth.

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1973 Ahh...Laine Wizard/Reprise (US)
1977 Holly Days EMI/Capitol (US)
1980 Japanese Tears Polydor/Scratch
1982 Anyone Can Fly Polydor/Scratch
1985 Hometown Girls President
1987 Wings on My Feet President
1988 Lonely Road President
Master Suite Magnum Force
1990 All I Want Is Freedom JAWS
1996 Reborn Griffin/Scratch
Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine Scratch/Purple Pyramid (US)
2008 The Blue Musician Peacock Records

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Notes
1994 Blue Nights tracks from 1980 to 1990
1994 Rock Survivor tracks from 1980 to 1990
1998 The Masters tracks from 1980 to 1996
2002 Blue Wings: The Ultimate Collection Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine paired with Japanese Tears

Singles[edit]

Year A-side B-side Label
1967 "Say You Don't Mind" "Ask The People" Deram DM 122
1968 "Too Much in Love" "Catherine's Wheel" Deram DM 171
"Why Did You Come?" "Ask The People" unreleased

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Album Artist
1974 McGear Mike McGear
1980 The Reluctant Dog Steve Holley
1981 Somewhere in England George Harrison
1982 Tug of War Paul McCartney
1983 Pipes of Peace
1985 Wind in the Willows
  • "The Life We Left Behind"
Eddie Hardin and Zak Starkey
1996 Metal Christmas
  • "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday"
Various Artists
1998 Wide Prairie Linda McCartney
1999 Old Friends in New Places
  • "And The Thunder Rolls..."
2001 Wingspan: Hits and History Paul McCartney

With The Moody Blues[edit]

Albums
Year Album
1965 The Magnificent Moodies
Singles
Year A-side B-side Album
1964 "Steal Your Heart Away" "Lose Your Money" Non-album single
"Go Now" "It's Easy, Child" The Magnificent Moodies
1965 "I Don't Want To Go on Without You" "Time on My Side" Non-album single
"From The Bottom of My Heart" "And My Baby's Gone"
"Everyday" "You Don't (All The Time)"
1966 "Boulevard De La Madeleine" "This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)"
1967 "Life's Not Life" "He Can Win"

With Balls reissued as by Trevor Burton[edit]

Year A-side B-side
1970 (Balls) "Fight for My Country" "Janie, Slow Down"
1971 (Trevor Burton) "Fight for My Country" (edited) "Janie, Slow Down"
1972 (B.L.G.) "Live in the Mountains" (same as "Fight for My Country") (edited) "Janie, Slow Down"

With Ginger Baker's Airforce[edit]

Year Album
1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force
Ginger Baker's Air Force 2

With Wings[edit]

Year Album
1971 Wild Life
1973 Red Rose Speedway
Band on the Run
1975 Venus and Mars
1976 Wings at the Speed of Sound
1978 London Town
1979 Back to the Egg

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Moody Blues". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Denny Laine and The Diplomats". Birminghammusicarchive.com. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  3. ^ Lauren Daley, 'Denny Laine looks back at the Moodys, McCartney, and Britain's music scene' Boston Globe 4 January 2019, G3.
  4. ^ a b "Denny Laine – Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Denny Laine". LA Music Awards. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  6. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p.107
  7. ^ "Moody Blues Co-founder Denny Laine 'Very Pleased' to be Added to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Roster". Billboard. 23 December 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Joynson, Vernon (1995). The Tapestry of Delights Archived 30 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. London: Borderline Books.
  9. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 122
  10. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 pp. 124-125
  11. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 124
  12. ^ "Denny Laine Biography", retrieved 23 October 2018
  13. ^ (AP) Wings clipped". The Leader-Post 30 April 1981: D2
  14. ^ McCartney Solo: See You Next Time ISBN 1-409-29879-5 p. 117
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ James, Catherine (2007). Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit. St. Martin's Press. p. 80. ISBN 0312367813.
  17. ^ "Jo Jo Laine". Telegraph.co.uk. 4 November 2006. Retrieved 3 February 2020.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Wingspan : Hits and History by Paul McCartney, ASIN: B00005B839

External links[edit]