Renowned musician Denny Laine, known for his contributions to bands such as Moody Blues and Wings, passes away at the age of 79.

Denny Laine, the lead singer of the Moody Blues and later a member of Wings with Paul McCartney, passed away at the age of 79.

Unfortunately, he suffered from interstitial lung disease which caused damage to his lungs. His wife, Elizabeth Hines, shared on Instagram: “My dear husband passed away peacefully this morning. I was by his side, holding his hand and playing his favorite Christmas songs for him… My life will never be the same.”

Laine sang the lead vocals for Go Now, a song that became iconic during the 1960s. They also helped write Mull of Kintyre, which remains one of the top-selling tracks in British chart history for Wings.

In 1944, Brian Frederick Hines was born in Birmingham. As a teenager, he adopted a more catchy stage name and formed his first band, Denny Laine and the Diplomats. Their vocalist was Roy Wood, who would later become a glam star, and their drummer was Bev Bevan, who would eventually join ELO.

He was one of the emerging stars of the “Brumbeat” blues and R&B scene when he joined forces with others to create the Moody Blues in 1964. The group’s second single, a rendition of Bessie Banks’ R&B ballad “Go Now,” became an instant hit. The song’s opening line, where Laine soulfully sings “we’ve already said goodbye” to a former lover, coupled with a beautifully harmonized chorus, helped propel the song to No. 1 in the UK and No. 10 in the US.

Initially, the band faced difficulties in achieving the same level of success. However, a song co-written by Laine, “From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)”, reached the top 30 in the UK in 1965. Later that year, The Moody Blues joined the Beatles on their final UK tour. However, with the band experiencing a decline in 1966, Laine decided to leave. He was replaced by Justin Hayward, and The Moody Blues went on to find success with a more psychedelic sound, including songs like “Nights in White Satin” and the album Days of Future Passed.

Laine’s next band, the Electric String Band, was a more psychedelic proposition and they played on bills with the likes of Jimi Hendrix. Laine released solo tracks, joined the Brummie supergroup Balls and took up a post in another supergroup, Ginger Baker’s Air Force. But his biggest and most sustained success came with Wings, the group formed by Paul McCartney and his wife, Linda, in the wake of the Beatles’ breakup.

Laine, right, with Paul and Linda McCartney in 1978.

Laine was working on a solo album, but stopped when McCartney contacted him. McCartney has stated, “I had known [Laine] before and I called him to ask what he was up to.” Laine replied that he was doing nothing, so McCartney invited him to join his band. Laine spent the next decade with the band, and even received co-writing credits for songs such as the powerful Celtic tune “Mull of Kintyre”, which became a Christmas number one in 1977 and was the first British single to sell 2 million copies.

Although Wild Life was not successful in reaching the top 10 in the UK, the band gained popularity with the help of McCartney joining for a period of time. Their next five albums, including the live album Wings Over America, all reached number one on the US charts. One of their most notable achievements was Band on the Run, which includes the song “No Words” co-written by McCartney and Laine.

Laine and McCartney wrote Mull of Kintyre together while looking out at the mull (a geographical feature) where McCartney was living. According to Laine, they were sitting outside a cottage in the hills of Kintyre, sharing a bottle of whisky, when they wrote the song. McCartney had already come up with the chorus and they collaborated on the rest of it. To give it a Scottish touch, they added a local band of pipers. The song went on to surpass even the Beatles’ She Loves You as the best-selling single in the UK, a record that stood until Band Aid released Do They Know It’s Christmas? in 1984.

In addition to primarily playing the guitar, Laine also collaborated with Linda to provide harmonized backing vocals and contributed to the music with keyboard, bass, and woodwind instrumentation. His musical talent was recognized during the Wings Over America tour, where he had a solo section and performed songs like “Go Now” and others. In 1977, the McCartneys supported Laine on his solo album “Holly Days,” which featured covers of Buddy Holly’s songs.

During the early 1980s, Laine made contributions to two of McCartney’s solo albums while Wings were still active. Despite changes in drummers and guitarists, Laine remained a constant member alongside the McCartneys throughout the entirety of Wings’ career.

However, he had a disagreement with McCartney regarding the band’s financial matters and personal conflicts, leading to his departure in 1981 and ultimately resulting in the band’s breakup. Throughout the 1980s, he released multiple solo albums and eventually returned to performing Wings songs, even participating in band reunions without McCartney.

Laine has also taken part in solo tours, such as his recent Songs & Stories tour, which featured a mix of unplugged performances and personal stories about his career.

In a recent interview, the musician discussed his career and expressed his surprise at the level of fame he has achieved. Despite not having a major hit, he is often approached by fans who know all of his solo work and every song he has written. This is both flattering and gratifying, as it shows that his music has reached a wider audience than he initially thought.

In her tribute, Hines expressed that Laine battled his illness every day and showed immense strength and bravery without ever complaining. His only wish was to be at home with her and their pet cat, Charley, playing his gypsy guitar. Hines described Denny as a truly wonderful person who showered her with love and sweetness. He brought color, fun, and energy into her days, just as he did in his own life. She also expressed gratitude to fans and medical professionals for their support during this difficult time.