Denny Laine, founding member of the Moody Blues and Paul McCartney’s Wings, dies at 79
NEW YORK (AP) — Denny Laine, a British singer, songwriter and guitarist who performed in an early, pop-oriented version of the Moody Blues and was later Paul McCartney’s longtime sideman in the ex-Beatle’s solo band Wings, has died at age 79.
Laine, inducted five years ago into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Moody Blues, died Tuesday in Naples, Florida. The cause was interstitial lung disease, according to an announcement on Laine’s Instagram page by his wife, Elizabeth Hines.
His death comes almost exactly 50 years after the release of McCartney’s acclaimed “Band On the Run” album, on which Laine played guitar and provided backing vocals. On Tuesday, McCartney posted a tribute to Laine on Instagram, calling him a “great talent with a fine sense of humor.”
“We had drifted apart but in recent years managed to reestablish our friendship and share memories of our times together,” McCartney wrote.
Laine was born Brian Frederick Arthur Hines, and changed his professional name in his early teens, in part in homage to the singer Frankie Laine.
In 1964, around the time he turned 20, he joined Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder in forming the Moody Blues and sang lead on the group’s breakthrough hit, “Go Now.” But the Moody Blues struggled to match their initial success, and by 1967 Laine had left, replaced by Justin Hayward. The Moody Blues then turned to the ambitious, classically influenced sounds of “Nights in White Satin” and other songs.
Laine worked as a solo artist and with such groups as Electric String Band and Ginger Baker’s Air Force before he was brought into Wings by McCartney, whom he had known during his time with the Moody Blues.
Founded in 1971, the year after the Beatles broke up, Wings went through various personnel changes over the following decade, with Laine, McCartney and McCartney’s wife, Linda, the only ones remaining throughout. The band’s No. 1 singles, most of them written by McCartney, included “My Love,” “Listen to What the Man Said” and the title track to “Band On the Run.” Laine helped write the million-selling “Mull of Kintyre.”
McCartney disbanded Wings soon after Laine left in the early 1980s, but Laine contributed to McCartney’s “Tug of War” and “Pipes of Peace” albums and added backing vocals to “All Those Years Ago,” George Harrison’s tribute to the late John Lennon.
Laine continued to tour and record in recent years, his albums including “The Blue Musician.”