Denny Laine, the British musician who co-founded the Moody Blues and Wings, has died. Laine’s wife Elizabeth Hines announced her husband’s death on his official social media pages, sharing that he had been living with interstitial lung disease. Laine was 79 years old.
Born Brian Hines in 1944, Laine cut his teeth with teenage rock bands in his home city of Birmingham, England, one of which was with future Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan. He formed the Moody Blues with Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Graeme Edge, and Clint Warwick in the spring of 1964. The group had a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom with the late-1964 single “Go Now!,” which Laine sang. The Moody Blues were on a track to become one of England’s biggest rock bands—even opening for the Beatles during Laine’s tenure—but Laine ultimately departed two years later.
In 1971, Laine joined Paul and Linda McCartney for the new band Wings, and the group issued Wild Life together later that year. Laine co-wrote the ensemble’s 1977 single “Mull of Kintyre,” which became one of the best-selling singles in UK chart history upon its release. Wings dissolved after Laine left the band in 1981, which he attributed to Paul McCartney’s disinterest in touring after the December 1980 murder of John Lennon.
Laine continued making music in the decades after Wings, working with Paul McCartney again on McCartney II, Tug of War, and Pipes of Peace, in addition to releasing several LPs of his own. Laine last issued a solo album in 2008 with The Blue Musician.
In a statement posted to social media, McCartney remembered his late bandmate, noting a mutual respect between the Beatles and the Moody Blues. “We had drifted apart but in recent years managed to reestablish our friendship and share memories of our times together,” he wrote. “Denny was a great talent with a fine sense of humour and was always ready to help other people.”