Denny Laine, Wings guitarist, original member of Moody Blues, dead at 79

Denny Laine

Denny Laine, a founding member of the Moody Blues whose haunting ballad “Go Now” was a hit, and who later spent a decade as a guitarist with Paul McCartney’s band Wings, died Tuesday. He was 79.

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Laine died after a short battle with interstitial lung disease, the BBC reported.

“My darling husband passed away peacefully early this morning,” Laine’s wife, Elizabeth Hines, wrote on Instagram. “I was at his bedside, holding his hand as I played his favorite Christmas songs for him … My world will never be the same.”

Laine, who was born Brian Frederick Hines in 1944, grew up in Birmingham, England, according to The Guardian. He formed his first band with future Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan, Rolling Stone reported.

In 1964 he joined with Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder to form the Moody Blues, according to the magazine. Laine’s plaintive voice on the Bessie Banks song “Go Now” in late 1964 was a No. 1 hit for the band in the United Kingdom.

Laine quit the band shortly after the Moody Blues’ debut album in 1965, according to Rolling Stone.

“They wanted us to stay out on the road and make some money,” Laine told North Coast Music Beat. “Like every other band, we got ripped off. We got the fame, but we didn’t get the money.”

Laine’s next project, the Denny Laine String Band, also struggled, and the singer then joined Cream drummer Ginger Baker in the rock group Air Force, the BBC reported.

Laine joined Paul and Linda McCartney to form Wings in 1971, and helped the former Beatle get past his rocky breakup with other members of the Fab Four, according to Rolling Stone.

Beginning with “Wild Life,” Laine stayed with McCartney for the next decade. He earned co-writing credits with McCartney for the 1977 single “Mull of Kintyre,” which went to No. 1 and became the first British single to sell more than 2 million copies, The Guardian reported.

After “Wild Life,” Wings hit their stride with five albums that would hit No. 1 in the United States, including “Band on the Run,” which featured just Laine and the McCartneys.

“I was in the shadows more, but I wasn’t bothered by that,” Laine told Billboard earlier this year. “I was traveling the world and learning a lot and having a good time in many ways. So from that point of view, it was easy for me.”

Wings dissolved in 1981 after Paul McCartney was arrested for marijuana possession during a tour of Japan, according to Rolling Stone. He continued working with the former Beatles bassist on McCartney’s solo projects but split apart after business disputes, according to the magazine.

Laine’s final solo album, “The Blue Musician,” was released in 2008. the BBC reported.

In 2018, Laine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Moody Blues after he was initially left off the list of inductees, Rolling Stone reported.

Paul McCartney paid tribute to Laine in an Instagram post, calling him “an outstanding vocalist and guitar player.”

“Denny was a great talent with a fine sense of humor and was always ready to help other people,” he wrote. “We had drifted apart but in recent years managed to reestablish our friendship and share memories of our times together.”

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