Paul McCartney pays tribute to former Wings bandmate Denny Laine

Laine was also the original singer in the Moody Blues

Kevin E G Perry
Tuesday 05 December 2023 19:15 GMT
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Musician Denny Laine in 2016
Musician Denny Laine in 2016 (Angela Weiss/Getty Images for BritWeek)

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Paul McCartney has paid tribute to his former Wings bandmate Denny Laine, who has died aged 79.

Laine was also a founding member of the Moody Blues.

“I have many fond memories of my time with Denny: from the early days when The Beatles toured with the Moody Blues,” McCartney wrote on Instagram. “Our two bands had a lot of respect for each other and a lot of fun together.”

McCartney continued: “Denny joined Wings at the outset. He was an outstanding vocalist and guitar player. His most famous performance is probably ‘Go Now’ an old Bessie Banks song which he would sing brilliantly. He and I wrote some songs together the most successful being ‘Mull of Kintyre’ which was a big hit in the Seventies. We had drifted apart but in recent years managed to reestablish our friendship and share memories of our times together.”

News of Laine’s death had earlier been confirmed in a social media statement by his wife, Elizabeth Hines.

“My darling husband passed away peacefully early this morning,” Hines wrote on Instagram. “I was at his bedside, holding his hand as I played his favorite Christmas songs for him. He’s been singing Christmas songs the past few weeks and I continued to play Christmas songs while he’s been in ICU on a ventilator this past week.”

Laine’s death came after a short battle with Interstitial Lung Disease. “Each infection weakened and damaged his lungs,” wrote Hines. “He fought every day. He was so strong and brave, never complained. All he wanted was to be home with me and his pet kitty, Charley, playing his gypsy guitar.”

Laine was born Brian Hines in Birmingham in 1944. He gave his first solo guitar performance at the age of 12, and soon after formed his first band Denny Laine and the Diplomats. His new name was inspired by hiding out in ‘dens’, and by the singer Frankie Laine.

In May 1964, Laine formed a new band with Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder. They became known as the Moody Blues, and Laine sang lead vocals on their first hit “Go Now”.

Wings (left-right): Denny Laine, Steve Holly, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, and Laurence Juber.
Wings (left-right): Denny Laine, Steve Holly, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, and Laurence Juber. (Getty Images)

After leaving the Moody Blues in 1966, Laine formed the Electric String Band. The following year, the group shared the bill with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Procul Harum at London’s Saville Theatre.

In 1971, Laine formed Wings with former Beatle Paul McCartney and his wife Linda. While the band featured a revolving cast of musicians before their break-up in 1981, much of their best-known work – including their acclaimed 1973 album Band on the Run – was written by the core trio of the McCartneys and Laine. Laine died on the 50th anniversary of Band on the Run’s release in the United States.

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After leaving Wings, Laine continued to release solo albums and toured with the supergroup World Classic Rockers, which also featured members of Steppenwolf, Toto and Badfinger.

In her statement about his death, Laine’s wife Hines thanked staff at Naples Hospital in Florida for their care and support, and added: “My world will never be the same. Denny was an amazingly wonderful person, so loving and sweet to me. He made my days colorful, fun and full of life – just like him.”

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