British Invasion survivor Denny Laine not only led the Moody Blues into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month by virtue of notching the group’s only chart-topper, 1964’s plaintive “Go Now,” the 73-year-old Birmingham guitarist remained the only constant collaborator to Paul & Linda McCartney in Wings, 1971-1981. Moreover, the group’s Grammy-winning masterwork, 1973’s Band on the Run
, resulted from the Beatle and Blue largely cobbling together the album as a duo visiting Lagos, Nigeria.
“Paul played drums, I played guitar, and we got the songs that way,” recalled Laine from his home in New York last month. “Paul got robbed a few nights before we arrived and all the cassettes we had of the rehearsals, the band rehearsals for the ‘Band on the Run’ song, were stolen. We had to start from scratch and memory. So he got on the drums, we counted four, and got to the end of it. Each song. And then we overdubbed all the rest.”
Laine’s history reads like an index from rock & roll’s big bang – Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin. Michael Jackson, even. His name, originally Brian Frederick Hines, amperstands with McCartney’s on one of the single biggest smashes in UK history, 1977’s “Mull of Kintyre.”
“I still consider that to be [Paul’s] song because he came up with the chorus,” he admits. “When I heard the chorus, I said, ‘That’s a hit song.’ So the next day we went out and wrote the rest of it. He only had the chorus. ‘Mull of Kintyre’ was the biggest single of all time up until ‘Don’t They Know It’s Christmas’ by that big charity.”
“Still to this day I do that song. I do all my Wings songs within the set.”
Read the entire, epic Q&A with Denny Laine online.
Sun., April 29, 6pm