Denny Laine - Hometown Girls - 1985 - President
For a guy who was a member of The Moody Blues, it is amazing that the British guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter never received more credit for his work, and that includes his stint with Wings. He released many solo albums, most of which are now deleted. His solo works sold very poorly, and most are now out of print, even though many of them contain quality music. Denny has never been associated with hard or progressive rock, even though many of his albums contain some of these elements. "Hometown Girls" is by no means a great album, but it has it's moments. It has a definite 80's flavour. However during the 80's, it was hard for many "serious" musicians not to be influenced by the musical zeitgeist. Duran Duran, and Prince were making the headlines. New Wave and Synthpop bands were also popular. Denny Laine was caught up in the middle of all this, and naturally he absorbed some of these musical influences. However, "Hometown Girls" manages to retain enough of Denny's earlier musical influences, to make the album worthwhile. This album is forgotten now. Try and find a comprehensive review of this album anywhere ! But it is an above average album from one of the great "British invaders" who took up guitar, because he loved the great jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt !. There is more to Denny Laine than Wings, or "Go Now". Denny's "Japanese Tears" is a very underrated album, but like most of Denny's albums, is out of print, and hard to obtain. If you are interested in any Denny Laine solo albums, please contact this blog
3."Mistral" (Laine, David Smyth, Mark Eagleton)
5."Home Town Girls"
2."I Wish You Could Love"
3."Twist of Fate" (Laine, Eddie Hardin)
4."Street" (Laine, David Smyth, Mark Eagleton)
All songs composed by Denny Laine, except where stated
Denny Laine - Guitar & Vocals
Mike Piggot - Guitar, Violin
Eddie Hardin - Keyboards
Earl Lewis, Joe Hubbard - Bass
Lynn Sheppard - Bass, Vocals
Lindsay Bridgwater - Keyboards
Zak Starkey, Steve Holly, Peter Boita, Neil Wilkinson - Drums
Mel Collins - Saxophone
Jo Jo Laine - Vocals
Maggie Bell - Vocals on "Street"
Denny Laine (born Brian Frederick Arthur Hines, 29 October 1944, Holcombe Road, Tyseley, Birmingham) 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 (with Paul McCartney) of Wings. Laine was the only musician in Wings, along with Paul and Linda McCartney, who did not quit. Laine joined Wings in 1971 for their album Wild Life and stayed until 1980, when Wings broke up. Denny Laine is of Romani descent, was educated at Yardley Grammar School in Birmingham, and took up the guitar as a boy under the influence of Gypsy jazz (Jazz manouche) legend Django Reinhardt; he had his first solo performance as a musician at the age of twelve and began his career as a professional musician fronting Denny & The Diplomats, which also included future The Move and Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan. In 1964, Laine left The Diplomats to join Mike Pinder in The Moody Blues and sang their first big hit, "Go Now"; other early highlights included "From The Bottom Of My Heart", "Can't Nobody Love You" and the harmonica-ripping "Bye Bye Bird". However, Denny's tenure with the MB's was short-lived and, after a number of comparative failures, Laine quit the band in August 1966 (the last record issued by The Moody Blues that featured Laine was "Life's Not Life"/"He Can Win" in January 1967, but the October 1966 "Boulevard De La Madeleine" single looked ahead to the fancier sounds for which The Moody Blues would later become famous). After leaving The Moody Blues, he formed The Electric String Band, which featured Denny (guitar, vocals), Trevor Burton (guitar, another former member of The Move) and Viv Prince (drums), also featuring electrified strings in a format not dissimilar to what Electric Light Orchestra would later attempt. They made two singles, "Say You Don't Mind / Ask The People" (Apr 1967, Deram) and "Too Much In Love / Catherine's Wheel" (Jan 1968, Deram); and, in June 1967, they shared a bill with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Procol Harum at the Saville Theatre in London. However, national attention was not to be, and the pioneering Electric String Band broke up. (There was apparently a third single recorded called "Why Did You Come?". Why it never released is unknown, but there have been rumours that the finished track - and probably the B side as well - was sent by post to Decca and was lost.) Laine and Burton then went on to the band Balls from 1969 until the band's breakup in 1971, with both also taking time to play in Ginger Baker's Air Force in 1970. (Only one single was issued by Balls; "Fight For My Country" / "Janie, Slow Down" on UK Wizard Records. Strangely, the top side was re-edited and reissued on UK Wizard and issued in the US on Epic under the name of Trevor Burton, which was odd since Laine and Burton shared lead vocals on the B side. The single was reissued again as B.L.W. as "Live In The Mountains" for a small Pye distributed label. There was supposed to have been a Balls album recorded, but it has never seen the light of day). Laine's 1967 song "Say You Don't Mind" was a hit when recorded in 1972 by ex-Zombie, Colin Blunstone. In 1971, Denny joined Paul McCartney to found the group known as Wings, and would stay with them for a full ten years until they officially disbanded in 1981; Denny provided lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, bass, writing and co-writing skills, as well as being a solid solo performer. Together with Paul and his wife, Linda, they formed the nucleus of the band, being called that "strange, 3-winged beast". It was with Wings that Denny enjoyed the biggest commercial and critical successes of his career, including co-writing the smash hit "Mull of Kintyre". In January 1980, McCartney was arrested for possession of marijuana upon arrival at an airport for a tour in Japan. The tour was cancelled. Wings recorded through the year on new tracks as well as tracks still in the vaults, but a press release by Paul in early 1981 officially announced that Wings had broken up. The new tracks ended up on Paul's next two solo albums, and Laine's relationship with McCartney soured (speculation also has it that financial matters were close to the heart of this dissolution, similar to the McCartney/Jackson partnership). The title track of Denny's first solo album after Wings, called "Japanese Tears", appeared to be a visible attack on McCartney much like John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" in 1971; however, closer inspection to the lyrics shows that it more likely tells the tongue-in-cheek story of a Japanese fan's disappointment after Wings' tour got cancelled (or possibly even tears of excitement at Wings' arrival in Japan in the first place). In 1986 Denny played at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which was a very special day,raising money for the Birmingham Children`s Hospital. Denny filed for bankruptcy in the mid-80s after selling his lucrative co-publishing rights to "Mull of Kintyre" to co-author McCartney. However, he has continued to record music at a prolific rate and has appeared at Beatles conventions and on tributes to both The Beatles and Wings. He is currently working on an autobiography. He was briefly married to Jo Jo Laine (13 July 1953 — 29 October 2006), with whom he had a son, Laine Hines, and a daughter, Heidi Hines. He has three other children from other relationships: Lucianne Grant, Damian James, and Ainsley Laine-Adams. His current wife is Rosha.
MORE ABOUT DENNY LAINE
For a few months at the height of the British invasion, Denny Laine was one of the most recognizable voices on the entire British music scene. As the lead singer on the Moody Blues' recording of "Go Now" -- a worldwide multi-million seller -- he stood out in a large pack, and did so splendidly. His soulful, agonized lead vocal performance, coupled with Mike Pinder's chiming piano, proved irresistable on the radio. Within a year, however, the band fell by the wayside. Denny Laine was born Brian Hines and grew up in Birmingham, England. As a boy he took up the guitar, not under the influence of Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly, or even Scotty Moore, but rather jazz legend Django Reinhardt. His first band of any significance was Denny and the Diplomats, formed in Birmingham in the early '60s. The group's line-up also included future Move and Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan and guitarist-singer Roy Wood. By 1964, Laine had abandoned Denny & the Diplomats and -- with four members of the city's other top bands -- formed the group that became the Moody Blues. Laine's tenure with the band was highlighted by one monster hit ("Go Now"), a brace of superb R&B-styled sides ("From The Bottom of My Heart," "Lose Your Money," etc.), and a string of commercial failures that left the band languishing by the end of 1965. Laine exited the group, to be replaced by Justin Hayward, whereupon the reconstituted Moody Blues adopted an increasingly adventurous sound that ended up making them the premiere progressive rock band of the late '60s. Ironically, Laine himself went in a similar direction with his next major project, 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 Electric String Band failed to attract serious public attention, despite a lot of good press and enthusiastic concert reviews. Laine's next major gig was as a member of Ginger Baker's Air Force, a big-band rock outfit that was a partial offshoot of Blind Faith. The group attracted enormous amounts of press attention on both sides of the Atlantic, played some good shows in England, and then embarked on an American tour that collapsed almost immediately through lack of ticket sales. Laine was the band's lead guitarist and principal vocalist and even had a featured blues spot in their sets. Laine was next heard from in 1971, when Paul McCartney announced that he was forming his first permanent band since exiting the Beatles. 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. Wings got off to a rocky start with an album called Wild Life, which wasn't really that bad but was mercilessly criticized by reviewers, who pounced on anything that didn't meet their expectations of Beatles-like perfection and importance. Beginning with Red Rose Speedway, however, they began winning the hearts of listeners and the minds of critics. By 1976, with Wings At The Speed of Sound, they'd become one of the top-selling acts of the decade, and the tour that followed was a success of monumental proportions, at least as far as ticket sales were concerned. Wings was, along with ABBA and Led Zeppelin, one of those money acts that seemed to generate tens of millions of ticket sales around the world and reams of press copy with every note they played and utterance that they pronounced. Laine wasn't quite an ex-Beatle, but as the member closest to McCartney (other than his wife), he was the most recognizable member of the band who wasn't a former Beatle. He even got a solo spot during concerts on their "Wings Over America" tour on which he sang and played several of the songs with which he was associated (most notably "Go Now") and a few covers that showcased his talents. Laine had a falling out with the McCartneys at the close of the 1970s, as Wings itself collapsed, amid myriad personal and personnel problems. He recorded several solo albums and was a featured guest at some Beatles conventions, but retained only a fraction of his visibility. He re-emerged in the late '90s with a tribute album to McCartney, and has been the subject of many CD reissues spotlighting odd solo cuts from his post-Wings and pre-Ginger Baker's Air Force period. Laine will likely never achieve the stardom that his career seemed to point toward when he cut "Go Now" in the mid-'60s. On the other hand though, he has played enough interesting and inspired music to make him a recognizable name to two generations of rock & roll fans, and one of the more deservedly enduring alumni from the original British invasion. © Bruce Eder, All Music Guide