Remembering Denny Laine’s Last Visit to the Hudson Valley
Denny Laine, co-founder of bands Wings and The Moody Blues and longtime collaborator of Paul McCartney, died on Tuesday morning, according to Laine’s wife Elizabeth Hines. The singer/songwriter had been in the ICU on a ventilator this past week battling Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD). He was 79.
Denny Laine's Final "Songs & Stories" Solo Acoustic Show in the Hudson Valley
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure to get to meet Denny Laine. He was a kind man, and he was all about the music. Laine brought his "Songs & Stories" to City Winery Hudson Valley in Montgomery on Wednesday, February 8th earlier this year, and I was lucky enough to interview him ahead of time for Townsquare Media's In Touch program. I made sure that I had done my research ahead of time and have questions ready to go. But by the time we got behind the microphone, it all changed.
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As a musician and songwriter myself, I was just in awe by what he had to say. It was one of those moments where you have to ditch the script and just listen. What he had to say about his music and career was truly inspiring. When we were all done, I'll never forget that he said to me, "You really get it, man. You get it. It's about the music, and you got the music in you. Some interviews are all about some agenda, but you that it's all about the music. Well done."
After the interview, I was offered a pair of tickets to the show, so I treated my dad to the concert. Laine performed a 90-minute solo acoustic set including songs from The Moody Blues, Ginger Baker's Air Force, Wings, and more. Laine shared stories behind the music full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the legendary musicians he has worked with and places he's visited over his remarkable career. It was not your typical concert; he would hop between stories and songs in an instant, and kept the audience guessing. We were all laughing, crying, and listening deeply to every word and every note.
When the show was over, I wanted to try to get backstage. Mind you, our interview was a phone interview, so I had yet to meet him face to face. I also did not arrange any plans for me to go backstage, but I figured I give it a try. I wore my Townsquare Media lanyard and made my down the corridor. When I reached the end of the hall where I saw Denny Laine go down, I saw several of his representatives. Before I could even open my mouth, they said, "You must be Conor! Denny was expecting you! Come on in!"
From there, Denny came over to greet me and gave myself and my dad a firm embrace. He was very grateful that we were able to make it and was eager to speak with us. We got talking about the concert, then the Hudson Valley, and then about traveling. At one point, someone on Denny's team comes over and says, "Denny, I have someone I want you to meet," and he replies, "But I'm talking with my friends! Ugh, give me one moment guys, I'll be right back.. Stay there"
And he did come right back. He was gone for about 5 minutes, returned, and said, "Where were we?" We were interrupted a couple more times, and each time, he would tell us to hold on, and that he'd be right back to talk to us. He always came back. It was so cool that he wanted to talk with US! We were all enjoying it. I got to speak with several members of his team, plus meet his lovely wife Elizabeth Hines. I think we ended up talking with him for over 45 minutes or so. It was quite and incredible evening, one that I will never forget. His energy and passion for music will be dearly missed.
Two-Time Grammy Winner Denny Laine Comes to the Hudson Valley
Denny Laine came to fame as a founding member of both The Moody Blues and Paul McCartney's post-Beatles band, Wings. Laine also worked closely with various members of The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Cream, ELO, The Zombies, The Hollies, and many more.
Laine was one of the founding member of The Moody Blues, and was with them from 1964 to 1966. After departing the band, he formed The Electric String Band, writing the hit "Say You Don't Mind." Following his time there, he joined Ginger Baker's Air Force, and sang lead on the memorable "Man of Constant Sorrow.
As for his time with Wings, Laine was the only member to be with the band for its entire run, besides Paul and Linda McCartney. Wings became one of the biggest band of the 70's. The Band on the Run album, for instance, sold six million copes, reaching #1 in the US three different times and was the top selling British album in 1974. the title track "Band on the Run" was a number one hit for seven weeks in the UK, and won a Grammy in 1975.
The biggest commercial and critical success for Laine was "Mull of Kintyre," which was co-written with McCartney, reached #1 on the UK's Guiness Charts of British Hit Singles. It became the UK's highest selling single ever at the time, as well as the first UK single to pass two million sales.
Denny Laine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 as a founding member of The Moody Blues.
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