Brian Hines (Johnny Dean / Denny Laine) (vocals, guitar) Tim Bellamy (drums) Dave 'Wongy'
Wheeland (bass) Tony Elson (guitar)
It was 1962 and Brian Hines heard that the Deltas were in need of a bass player for
a few weeks, taking up the gig but refusing to travel with the band, the attraction
of his new Vespa scooter too tempting, even if his bass had to be strapped precariously
onto the back.
With confidence building, he and pals Tim Bellamy, Dave Wheeland and Tony Elson decided
that Birmingham needed another band and they already had a killer name for their
venture, The Dominators (after the Norton motorcycle), with Brian taking centre stage
under the name of Johnny Dean.
The band quickly established themselves at the Mermaid, Stratford Road and the Say
Mama, Maney Hall where Johnny Dean would demonstrate his gymnastic skills with backflips
and cartwheels across the stage, to the delight of the girls in the audience and
the displeasure of their Teddy Boy boyfriends.
Meanwhile, management trainee Bev Bevan was working at the Beehive department store
and, being sent on a course over at Rackhams, it was here that he met up with Brian
who had the enviable job of working in the store’s record department.
Bev was intrigued to hear about Brian’s band and, impressed by his ambition, decided
to take along his pal Phil Ackrill to the next Dominators show at Shamrocks, the
Irish social club in Digbeth. After the show, the three walked home together, along
the Stratford Road, plotting their future and so, Denny Laine & The Diplomats was
born, with Brian now as Denny, Bev on drums, Phil on rhythm and their pal Dave ‘Wongy’
Wheland on bass.