(RepublicanJournal.org) – Denny Laine, the English singer and bass guitarist who founded the Moody Blues and Wings, has died at the age of 79. Laine’s musical career spanned six decades and earned him a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Denny Laine was born Brian Frederick Arthur Hines in the Channel Islands, a British Crown territory off the coast of France, on October 29, 1944. He grew up in Birmingham and learned the guitar at school, inspired by gypsy jazz musician Django Reinhardt and his own part-Romany background. When he was just 12 years old he gave his first solo performance. As a teenager, he joined a local band, Johnny Dean and the Dominators. A year later he moved to another band, the Diplomats, and persuaded them to change their name to Denny Laine and the Diplomats. His stage name came from Denny, his childhood nickname, and singer Cleo Laine, whom he admired.
The high point for the Diplomats was a July 1963 gig where they supported The Beatles, but the band never managed to get a recording contract of its own and Laine soon started looking around for something else. He began rehearsing with another band, the Soul Preachers. Shortly afterward, this group changed its name to the M&B Five in the hope a local brewery named Mitchell & Butlers would sponsor them for the free publicity. When this failed they changed their name again, keeping the initials and becoming the Moody Blues.
In 1965, the Moody Blues made the UK number one with their second single, Go Now by Larry Banks and Milton Bennet, and while they never repeated that success with later singles, they went on to release six albums and build a solid reputation in the prog rock scene. Laine moved on again, though, first with a couple of abortive solo songs and another short-lived band, and then in 1971 when he co-founded Wings with Paul McCartney.
Laine kept performing with a variety of supergroups and reunion tours until 2018. He died in Naples, Florida, on December 5.
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