Denny Laine 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 (along with Paul McCartney) of Wings.
Laine is of Romani descent and was educated at Yardley Grammar School, in Birmingham. His first solo performance was at the age of twelve. Having taken up the guitar as a boy, under the influence of jazz legend Django Reinhardt, Laine began his career as a professional musician fronting Denny And The Diplomats, the members of which included future The Move and Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan.
In 1964, Laine abandoned Denny And The Diplomats to join The Moody Blues, singing their first big hit, “Go Now. His tenure with the band was short-lived; however, and quit the band in late 1966. (The last record issued by The Moody Blues that featured Laine was Life’s Not Life / He Can Win in 1967.)
After leaving The Moody Blues, he formed the Denny Laine String Band, an electric psychedelic outfit that featured an amplified violin and cello, remarkably similar in many ways to the configuration that the Electric Light Orchestra would adopt more successfully three years later. The band featured Denny (guitar, vocals), Trevor Burton (guitar, another former member of The Move) and Viv Prince (drums).
In 1971, Paul McCartney announced he was forming his first permanent band since leaving the Beatles, named Wings. The group, christened Wings, was McCartney (joined by his wife Linda McCartney) on bass, guitar, piano, and vocals, with Laine at the core on guitar, bass, and vocals. In a 1980s interview, Laine indicated that he and McCartney got along well, not only because they came out of similar music backgrounds but also because each of them had lost control of bands they’d helped to found.