Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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LAINE, Denny

(b Brian Hines, 29 Oct. '44, Jersey) UK singer-songwriter. Fronted Denny and the Diplomats, Midlands group formed '62 which incl. Roy Wood, Bev Bevan (later Move); left to join Moody Blues, which incl. members of Diplomats' rivals Gary Levene and the Avengers, El Riot and the Rebels. First single flopped (Laine/Mike Pinder co-written 'Lose Your Money'); Laine's reading of US blues singer Bessie Banks's 'Go Now' was no. 1 UK '65, top ten USA and charted world-wide. Follow-up proved problematical; Laine left '66, formed Denny Laine's Electric String Band with Andy Leigh, bass; Viv Prince, drums; violinists Angus Anderson, John Stein; cellists Haflidr Halynisson and Clive Gillinson: Deram singles flopped despite support from disc jockey John Peel on his Top Gear show; Colin Blunstone covered 'Say You Don't Mind' for '70s hit; use of amplified strings undoubtedly infl. Electric Light Orchestra. Laine joined Move renegade Trevor Burton to form Balls, changing lineup incl. Steve Gibbons, vocals; Alan White (later Yes), drums; Richard Tandy (later ELO), keyboard; Jackie Lomax, guitar; Mike Kellie (ex-Spooky Tooth): promising group lasted only '69--early '71, made no albums. He concurrently worked in Ginger Baker's ill-fated Air Force, appearing on both that group's LPs. Paul McCartney had admired Laine since 'Go Now'; snapped him up as right-hand man, rhythm guitarist, harmony vocalist in Wings. He served in that group through '70s, soloing on stage with 'Go Now' or 'Say You Don't Mind', co- writing mega-hit 'Mull Of Kintyre' with boss. McCartney's drug bust in Japan and John Lennon's murder '80 combined to make touring unlikely; Laine left April '81; assisted (now ex-) wife Jo Jo in her singing career. Solo LPs remarkably few: Aah Laine '73, Holly Days '76 (collection of Buddy Holly songs, of which McCartney owns copyright), Japanese Tears '80; two LPs on President label '85: Hometown Girls and retrospective Weep For Love with Wings on title track (also CD compilation Blue Nights). Having sold his share of 'Mull Of Kintyre' to McCartney he declared bankruptcy '86. Master Suite '88 was on Thunderbolt.