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12/5/23-Denny Laine of Moody Blues & Wings Died

todayDecember 5, 2023

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Hear Denny Laine on “The Lost 45s” on our interview page.

Denny Laine, the British singer-guitarist best known for his work with Paul McCartney & Wings and the Moody Blues, has died after a long battle with interstitial lung disease, according to a social media post from his wife. He was 79.

Born Brian Frederick Hines in 1944 near Birmingham, England, he was a major figure on the city’s fertile 1960s rock scene and was actually one of the first from it to break through. He co-founded the Moody Blues and scored an early hit with them in 1964, singing their cover of American R&B singer Bessie Banks’ breakup ballad “Go Now”; the song was to be associated with him for the rest of his career. While the group had a couple more minor hits, he left in 1967 and was replaced by Justin Hayward, who would lead the Moodies to become one of the biggest groups of the era, particularly with the song “Nights in White Satin.”

During the next few years he formed a series of groups, including the Electric String Band and Balls (both with ex-Move guitarist Trevor Burton) and former Cream drummer Ginger Baker’s Air Force. Yet his moment arrived when he joined McCartney in his first post-Beatles group, Wings, in 1971. He remained with the group for 10 years and was a highly visible member onstage and on their recordings, although his role was very much a supporting one. McCartney and the group enjoyed a series of smash albums and singles throughout the ‘70s, including “Band on the Run” and “Venus and Mars,” and songs like “Jet,” “My Love” and particularly “Mull of Kintyre,” one of the biggest singles in British history, which Laine co-wrote. He and McCartney’s wife Linda were the two mainstays as the group went through several lineup changes over the years, and split for good in 1981 after John Lennon’s death; McCartney would not tour again for more than eight years. However, he did contribute to McCartney’s solo albums during the early ‘80s.

He embarked on a solo career and released several albums and toured over the ensuing decades, although he met with limited success.

He married Elizabeth Mele this past July, and earlier this year announced that he was working on a new album, although its status remains unclear.

Written by: Barry Scott

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