WESTERLY — You probably won’t find Paul McCartney sitting at the Knickerbocker Café Thursday night but you’ll definitely find Denny Laine.
Laine, who recorded “Band on the Run” with Paul and Linda McCartney in the 1970s, is a co-founder of Wings who spent 10 years with the McCartneys, writing, singing and playing for Wings. And he’s on tour these days to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the album’s release.
“That’s as close as you can get to the original,” said Caswell Cooke Jr., whose band, The Beach Band, opens for Laine. “He was there ... making history ... and he’s got a totally unique perspective.”
Laine, the lead singer and guitarist for the Moody Blues in the ’60s, is sandwiching in a stop at the Knick between gigs in New York and New Hampshire. He also planned to make a few local TV and radio appearances and a stop at the Olean Center. Laine, who lives in Las Vegas and maintains an active performing schedule, is no stranger to the area. He has performed before at the Knick and was a star performer at the 2007 Misquamicut Music Festival.
Cooke said Laine, who’s nearly 70 years old, plans to perform “Band on the Run” in its entirety in addition to a number of other classic hits.
In 2009, Laine joined up with the World Classic Rockers, which included former members of The Eagles and Steppenwolf, and toured with the group Badfinger featuring Joey Molland in a show called “Abbey Road Memories,” which featured Beatles tunes and many other songs recorded at the Abbey Road Studios over the years, including many of Laine’s own songs.
Other former stars performing with Laine on Thursday will be the Peter Asher Band, featuring Asher, who was half of the hit duo Peter and Gordon of “World Without Love” fame, and Jeff Ross, who was part of the 1980s lineup of Badfinger.
Ross will perform the Badfinger classic “Baby Blue,” which made its way back onto the charts this fall, following the finale of the TV series “Breaking Bad,” Cooke said.
“Kind of cool,” he added.
Laine’s prolific and varied career began when he fell in love with the guitar at age 12, listening to jazz legend Django Reinhardt, he told The Sun in a 2009 interview. Soon after, he was performing solo and in his teens he formed Denny and the Diplomats, which included future Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan. In 1964, he joined with Mike Pinder to form the Moody Blues, and he sang their first big hit, “Go Now.” Other hits were “From The Bottom Of My Heart,” “Can’t Nobody Love You” and “Bye Bye Bird.”
He also wrote another No. 1 hit for Colin Blunstone (The Zombies) in the early ’70s called “Say You Don’t Mind.”
Cooke said members of The Beach Band, or “Misquamicut’s Favorite Band,” include Roger “Coach” Walsh Jr., Mike Bussey, Russ Holly, Ron Webster and Dan Spano.
“We’ll play for about a half hour,” said Cooke, who also serves on Westerly’s Town Council and organized the first Misquamicut Music Festival. “We’ll do some Crosby, Stills and Nash, some Beatles and some Beach Boys.”
For tickets, or more information about Laine’s performance Thursday night, call 401-596-4225 or go to theknickerbockercafe.com.
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