Brian Connolly was born on October 5, 1945 in Hamilton, Scotland. He was adopted at birth and took the name Brian McManus. When he was 18 Brian discovered that he was adopted he changed his surname to his mother's, Connolly.
At age 18 Brian moved to Middlesex and replaced singer Ian Gillan (of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath fame) in a band called Wainwright's Gentlemen which included drummer Mick Tucker. Wainwright's Gentlemen split up in 1968 without releasing any recordings.