Former member of Wings, Moody Blues to perform Friday in Hannibal

Posted: Oct. 23, 2013 8:43 am Updated: Nov. 13, 2013 7:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Denny Laine says it was years after Wings broke up before he fully appreciated the music the group made.

Laine, a founding member of the Moody Blues, teamed with good friend and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to form Wings in 1971. The group had six No. 1 singles and a half-dozen No. 1 albums to its credit before disbanding in 1981.

At the time, Laine was not overly impressed.

"You get sick of singing the same songs all the time, and I never listened to (Wings music) for a long time after the group broke up," Laine said. "(Years later) when I listened to the music again, I discovered what a good band Wings was -- I was kind of impressed. The music sounded better than it did at the time."

Laine is likely to discuss that part of his personal history and plenty more when he appears Friday night at the Roland Fine Arts Center on the campus of Hannibal-LaGrange University.

Laine, who is part of this season's Hannibal Concert Association lineup, is almost a lock to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Moody Blues or Wings -- or both. Most music critics say his induction is already long overdue.

"I love to do the small venues, and am looking forward to coming to Hannibal, the home of another famous writer," Laine said. "But I think Mark Twain is a little more famous than me."

Laine, who now lives in Las Vegas, is working on numerous projects, including a musical, and the release of his new CD, "Valley of Dreams." He will be 69 later this month.

Laine sang lead on the Moody Blues' first major hit, "Go Now," in 1964, but less than three years later split from the group over creative differences. He has remained friends with former band members through the years and says he is proud of the success the group discovered with a more orchestral sound. The band began as more of a blues group, as the name implied.

"I never get bored with music," he said. "I never get sick of playing. I enjoy live (music) the most, because that's when your mistakes are exposed."

Three of Laine's biggest influences early in his career were Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, but said R&B, Motown, blues, jazz and even classical have played a role in his development.

"I listen to everything," he said. "I love all kinds of music."