Three Rivers Commercial News | Robert Tomlinson, Staff Writer
English singer, songwriter, and guitarist Denny Laine, best known for his work with the Moody Blues and Wings, will be performing with his band, the Moody Wings, at Riviera Theatre May 11.
A recent inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Laine was the co-founder of the Moody Blues along with Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder. Laine was the lead singer for their 1964 No. 1 hit, “Go Now,” and assisted on vocals and guitars for Wings.
Laine said in an interview with the Commercial-News that he had many musical influences growing up in Birmingham, England, including his family, who were all musicians and dancers.
“I got into Django Reinhardt, Ella Fitzgerald, the jazz scene, and all sorts of different music,” Laine said. “Finally, when Buddy Holly, Elvis, and those people came along, I got into that.”
Laine said the Moody Blues began when the members from another project of his, Denny Laine and the Diplomats, left the band.
“Bev Bevan was the drummer in my original band, and he went to Electric Light Orchestra. Everyone else eventually jumped, so I got a couple guys together for the Mood Blues, and we put the band together, went to London, and we had a No. 1 hit,” Laine said. “The hit was the big highlight, it was unbelievable.”
After Laine left the Moody Blues a couple years later, he formed a band called the Electric String Band. Afterwards, in 1971, he was contacted by Paul McCartney to join him in Wings. Laine said that McCartney was no stranger to him.
“I knew Paul from the Moody Blues days, we toured with the Beatles, and we were close friends. I wasn’t exactly a stranger when he called me, and he wanted to work with somebody new,” Lain said. “He came to see me during a Jimi Hendrix show ― I had my band called the Electric String Band and I did a show with Jimi Hendrix ― and asked if I was interested in joining Wings. I did a little bit in Jamaica for a few months, then I got the official call from Paul.”
Wings won multiple Grammy awards, including Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus, fro the 1974 hit “Band on the Run.” Laine said that winning the Grammy awards was always “a great occasion,” and that he’s currently a voter for the Grammys.
After leaving Wings and going solo in 1981, Laine has done 12 solo albums, most recently 2008’s “The Blue Musician.” However, Lain said that his band will be performing some familiar music during their performance on May 11.
“We’re doing both the Band on the Run album and the first Moody Blues album, The Magnificent Moodies, so I think it’ll be a good gig,” Laine said. “We’ve always had a good time, so it should be fun.”
Tickets for Denny Laine and the Moody Wings are currently available on the Riviera Theatre website. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 the day of the show.