Denny Laine[/b] (born Brian Frederick Arthur Hines[/b], 29 October 1944, Holcombe Road, Tyseley, Birmingham) is an English songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his roles as former guitarist and lead singer of The Moody Blues and, later, co-founder (with Paul McCartney) of Wings. Laine was the only musician in Wings, along with Paul and Linda McCartney, who did not quit. Laine joined Wings in 1971 for their album Wild Life and stayed until 1980, when Wings broke up. Denny Laine is of Romani descent, was educated at Yardley Grammar School in Birmingham, and took up the guitar as a boy under the influence of Gypsy jazz (Jazz manouche) legend Django Reinhardt; he had his first solo performance as a musician at the age of twelve and began his career as a professional musician fronting Denny & The Diplomats, which also included future The Move and Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan. In 1964, Laine left The Diplomats to join Mike Pinder in The Moody Blues and sang their first big hit, "Go Now"; other early highlights included "From The Bottom Of My Heart", "Can't Nobody Love You" and the harmonica-ripping "Bye Bye Bird". However, Denny's tenure with the MB's was short-lived and, after a number of comparative failures, Laine quit the band in August 1966 (the last record issued by The Moody Blues that featured Laine was "Life's Not Life"/"He Can Win" in January 1967, but the October 1966 "Boulevard De La Madeleine" single looked ahead to the fancier sounds for which The Moody Blues would later become famous). After leaving The Moody Blues, he formed The Electric String Band, which featured Denny (guitar, vocals), Trevor Burton (guitar, another former member of The Move) and Viv Prince (drums), also featuring electrified strings in a format not dissimilar to what Electric Light Orchestra would later attempt. They made two singles, "Say You Don't Mind / Ask The People" (Apr 1967, Deram) and "Too Much In Love / Catherine's Wheel" (Jan 1968, Deram); and, in June 1967, they shared a bill with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Procol Harum at the Saville Theatre in London. However, national attention was not to be, and the pioneering Electric String Band broke up. (There was apparently a third single recorded called "Why Did You Come?". Why it never released is unknown, but there have been rumours that the finished track - and probably the B side as well - was sent by post to Decca and was lost.) Laine and Burton then went on to the band Balls from 1969 until the band's breakup in 1971, with both also taking time to play in Ginger Baker's Air Force in 1970. (Only one single was issued by Balls; "Fight For My Country" / "Janie, Slow Down" on UK Wizard Records. Strangely, the top side was re-edited and reissued on UK Wizard and issued in the US on Epic under the name of Trevor Burton, which was odd since Laine and Burton shared lead vocals on the B side. The single was reissued again as B.L.W. as "Live In The Mountains" for a small Pye distributed label. There was supposed to have been a Balls album recorded, but it has never seen the light of day). Laine's 1967 song "Say You Don't Mind" was a hit when recorded in 1972 by ex-Zombie, Colin Blunstone. In 1971, Denny joined Paul McCartney to found the group known as Wings, and would stay with them for a full ten years until they officially disbanded in 1981; Denny provided lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, bass, writing and co-writing skills, as well as being a solid solo performer. Together with Paul and his wife, Linda, they formed the nucleus of the band, being called that "strange, 3-winged beast". It was with Wings that Denny enjoyed the biggest commercial and critical successes of his career, including co-writing the smash hit "Mull of Kintyre". In January 1980, McCartney was arrested for possession of marijuana upon arrival at an airport for a tour in Japan. The tour was cancelled. Wings recorded through the year on new tracks as well as tracks still in the vaults, but a press release by Paul in early 1981 officially announced that Wings had broken up. The new tracks ended up on Paul's next two solo albums, and Laine's relationship with McCartney soured (speculation also has it that financial matters were close to the heart of this dissolution, similar to the McCartney/Jackson partnership). Laine bought a large property outside of Calpe, Alicante, Spain in 1983 and brought with him a small group of followers who did not last long once they saw the money running out. The property alongside the N332 was originally a large farmhouse but was converted to basic dwellings and Laine occupied it for a few months before leaving without notice and the building was occupied by squatters. During his time in the Calpe area, Laine did a few musical sessions with the local bands, notably Rory Westerby and an occasional gig at the Manzanera open air free for all. In 1985, Laine was back in Surrey with frequent sightings at the Woking KFC either driving a Rolls Royce or being dropped off by taxi as he was incapable of walking, talking or driving. The title track of Denny's first solo album after Wings, called "Japanese Tears", appeared to be a visible attack on McCartney much like John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" in 1971; however, closer inspection to the lyrics shows that it more likely tells the tongue-in-cheek story of a Japanese fan's disappointment after Wings' tour got cancelled (or possibly even tears of excitement at Wings' arrival in Japan in the first place). In 1986 Denny played at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which was a very special day,raising money for the Birmingham Children`s Hospital. Denny filed for bankruptcy in the mid-80s after selling his lucrative co-publishing rights to "Mull of Kintyre" to co-author McCartney. However, he has continued to record music at a prolific rate and has appeared at Beatles conventions and on tributes to both The Beatles and Wings. He is currently working on an autobiography.
1. Mull of Kyntire 2. Magneto and Titanium Man 3. Bluebird 4. Blackbird 5. Children Children 6. Picasso??s last Words 7. The note you never wrote 8. Send me the heart
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