Wings Guitarist Denny Laine Dies; Paul McCartney Pays Tribute To ‘A Great Talent’

Share This:

Denny Laine with Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney, in the video for “Mull of Kintyre,” which Laine co-wrote

Denny Laine, a a founding member of both Wings and the Moody Blues, died today (December 5, 2023). The news of his passing was announced by his wife, Elizabeth Hines, on his Facebook page. His death fell on the 50th anniversary of the release of Paul McCartney & Wings’ acclaimed 1973 album, Band on the Run. Laine had faced significant health issues this year. The 79-year-old guitarist had been in a Naples, Fla., hospital, most recently for a collapsed lung and was susceptible to it occurring again because his lungs were so weak. On December 2, 2023, his wife shared that he was on a ventilator and coughing up blood.

McCartney paid tribute to Laine several hours after his former bandmate’s death was announced. Read his post below.

Hines’ post about Laine’s passing: “My darling husband passed away peacefully early this morning. I was at his bedside, holding his hand as I played his favorite Christmas songs for him. He’s been singing Christmas songs the past few weeks and I continued to play Christmas songs while he’s been in ICU on a ventilator this past week.

“He and I both believed he would overcome his health setbacks and return to the rehabilitation center and eventually home. Unfortunately, his lung disease, Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), is unpredictable and aggressive; each infection weakened and damaged his lungs. He fought everyday. He was so strong and brave, never complained.

“All he wanted was to be home with me and his pet kitty, Charley, playing his gypsy guitar.

“Denny was so very thankful to all of you who sent him so much love, support and the many kind words during these past few months of his health crisis-it brought him to tears.

“I thank you all for sending both of us love and support. It was my absolute honor and privilege to not only be his wife, but to care for him during his illness and vulnerability.

“Thank you to Denny’s surgeons, doctors, specialists, physical therapists and nurses at Naples Hospital for working so hard to help him. Thank you for your compassion and support for me during these past several emotional months.

“My world will never be the same. Denny was an amazingly wonderful person, so loving and sweet to me. He made my days colorful, fun and full of life-just like him.

“Thank you sweetie for loving me, for all the laughter, friendship, fun and for asking me to be your wife. I will love you forever ❤️

“Please give Denny’s friends and family the time and privacy needed as we grieve our loss. 💔”

Much love,
Elizabeth Hines

McCartney’s tribute: I am very saddened to hear that my ex-bandmate, Denny Laine, has died.

This ad for the Band on the Run and title track appeared in the June 8, 1974 issue of Record World when both topped the charts

I have many fond memories of my time with Denny: from the early days when The Beatles toured with the Moody Blues. Our two bands had a lot of respect for each other and a lot of fun together. Denny joined Wings at the outset. He was an outstanding vocalist and guitar player. His most famous performance is probably ‘Go Now’ an old Bessie Banks song which he would sing brilliantly. He and I wrote some songs together the most successful being ‘Mull of Kintyre’ which was a big hit in the Seventies. We had drifted apart but in recent years managed to reestablish our friendship and share memories of our times together.

Denny was a great talent with a fine sense of humour and was always ready to help other people. He will be missed by all his fans and remembered with great fondness by his friends. I send my condolences and best wishes to his wife, Elizabeth and family.

Peace and love Denny. It was a pleasure to know you. We are all going to miss you.


An all-star benefit concert was held on November 27, 2023, to raise needed funds for Laine to pay his mounting medical bills. A band member organized The Benefit Concert For Denny Laine featuring an all-star lineup that included former Wings members Denny Seiwell and Laurence Juber, along with Micky Dolenz, Peter Asher, and others. The sold-out concert took place at the famed Troubadour in West Hollywood. It’s available to watch here.

Laine had been battling lung issues following a bout with Covid-19. His wife is seeking financial help from fans and on September 21, 2023, she started a GoFundMe page as he didn’t have health insurance since he was without a Green card. The British-born musician resided in North Naples and his condition made him unable to fly to the U.K. for health care.

Alex Jules, Laine’s band member who organized the benefit concert, wrote, “After speaking with his wife, Liz, I knew I needed to do something to help him. Very quickly, and out of an overwhelming love for Denny… we’re going to try to make this a wonderful celebration of Denny’s music, which has meant so much to so many of us and now do our part to give back a little bit of the love in his direction.” The concert, hosted by Chris Carter, also featured Joey Molland, Joe Bouchard, Paul Shaffer, Jeremy Clyde, Albert Lee, and others. The house band was Laine’s bandmates Jules, Erik Paparozzi and Brian Pothier.

Laine’s wife noted that he had three surgeries and that doctors have inserted a chest tube that is temporarily needed until his lung heals. He also contracted a bacterial infection in his blood, which he was still battling. The hospital has been helping to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses but, as Hines noted, “a rehabilitation center, along with the multiple lab work and specialists, will not.

“I’m asking for financial help to get Denny the medical care and recovery time he requires. Our goal is to have Gypsy Den home in time for his birthday, October 29. He wants to be able to play his guitar again; presently, he’s too weak.

“I want to thank you all in advance for your continued love, prayers, encouragement and support during this difficult time. ❤️”

On Oct. 24, she noted that her husband would be spending his 79th birthday in the hospital, where he has been since Oct. 3, including a time in the ICU.

Hines gave an interview to the “Get Back to the Beatles” podcast on Oct. 29. “We take every day, day-by-day,” she said. “He can’t walk; he’s bed-ridden [but] getting stronger every day. He’s determined to return to his life and what he was doing, with a lot of open-ended projects before he got ill.”

After a short bout with Covid-19 in March 2022 in New York, Laine continued to be susceptible to future lung issues. Hines noted that he’s too weak to go under anesthesia for an operation, and has lost 20 pounds. He’ll be on oxygen for the rest of his life.

Many Best Classic Bands readers wondered why Paul McCartney hadn’t come to his former Wings bandmate’s aid. Hines put that to rest. A mutual friend reached out to McCartney on their behalf. “Paul is one of the first people that did help,” she said. “He and his office are in the loop. I sent Paul a ‘thank you’ text because he doesn’t have to do that. We don’t expect him to do that. We don’t feel like he’s obligated in any way to do anything. He doesn’t have to do this. He’s doing it out of the kindness of his heart.

Hines avoided quantifying exactly what McCartney had done, instead noting, “I sent him the text to thank him for his generosity and he texted me back the next day. He was very sweet and said ‘anything to help you through your difficulties.’ Some people think [he’s obligated]. We don’t.”

In the extensive interview, she said that she slept in her husband’s hospital room and rarely left his side. “I deal with his night terrors,” she acknowledged. “With Denny, he can only take so much and then he starts to cry. When I show him the love people are sending him, he starts getting emotional about it. He doesn’t think of himself as a rock star. It’s weird for him to see the adulation.”

The couple met at a Beatles Fest in 2010. “I went there specifically to see him. I had never seen him perform. There was immediately something there but we didn’t act on it [then]. It took six years before we started dating.”

She mentioned that many other classic rock legends including Bev Bevan, Wings’ Steve Holley, John Lodge, and Mike Pinder have been in touch. As of Dec. 3, the GoFundMe campaign had reached just over $53,000 of its $100K goal.

Laine, born on Oct. 29, 1944, in Birmingham, U.K., was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 as a member of the Moody Blues. He sang lead vocal on their first hit, 1964’s “Go Now.”

Laine left the Moody Blues in 1966, prior to its significant success. The band’s Pinder and Lodge wrote tributes. “My first foray into professional songwriting was with the talented Denny Laine,” wrote Pinder. “Our creative collaboration was inspiring and our future was unfolding. It was such an exciting time in our lives.

“Although I missed having Denny in our band I was happy he joined up with Wings as I loved and respected Paul McCartney. The Moodies and the Beatles were fortunate to be on tour together and explore musical ideas and develop solid friendships in those early years.”

Lodge wrote: “I’m so very sorry to hear of the passing of Denny Laine, we’ve all been praying for him.
Those days in Birmingham, Denny Laine and the Diplomats, El Riot and the Rebels, Gerry Levine and the Avengers, Carl Wayne and the Vikings, Spencer Davis Group, The Moat House, Cedar Club, and so many more distant memories that come flooding back with the passing of Denny.

“Denny’s voice on ‘Go Now’ and his interpretation of the Bessie Bank’s song, is, and will remain, an all time classic.

“Although we never performed together, the circle was complete at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2018, Brummies together.

“My love goes out to his wife Elizabeth and all his family, and I know he’ll now be making great music in heaven.”

Laine went on to form several other groups including the Electric String Band before joining Paul and Linda McCartney in 1971 to form Wings. Although the bulk of the band’s songwriting was from McCartney, Laine co-wrote their 1977 U.K. smash, “Mull of Kintyre.”

The song was #1 there for an astounding nine weeks and became one of the country’s biggest-selling singles of all time. Even more surprising: it never charted on the Hot 100 in the U.S.

This ad appeared in the Oct. 9, 1976 issue of Record World

McCartney produced Laine’s recordings of Buddy Holly favorites, while also singing with Linda.

Laine was forced to cancel several appearances of his one-man “Songs & Stories” presentation this summer due to his ill health.

Peter Asher posted a tribute to Laine. “Denny was a stalwart friend, a soulful singer, a superb musician and songwriter and a charming companion,” he wrote. “To have been a member of one of the most important bands of the second half of the 20th Century would be enough for most of us – yet Denny was a key member of two entirely different ones.

“One of the hallmarks of the so-called British Invasion was our collective ability to pick out an underappreciated American song and (respectfully and gratefully!) bring it to everyone’s attention in a new version. I have one particular favourite example of this phenomenon – I well remember the very first time I heard Denny’s amazing vocal on “Go Now” in Regent Sound Studio in Denmark Street, London, and was totally blown away. Then it was released and conquered the world. Now I shall remember Denny with affection and admiration every time I hear it.”

Related: Musicians we’ve lost in 2023

In March 2023, Laine joined Nancy Wilson to perform “Band on the Run” at New York’s Carnegie Hall for The Music of Paul McCartney concert.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Wings’ Band On the Run

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. ROBB
    #1 ROBB 6 December, 2023, 02:03

    I had been hoping that Mr. Laine would somehow find a way to recover from his ongoing health battles. It is distressing to know that my fear became reality today. I am glad my music library is flush with his recordings.

    Reply this comment
  2. Bill Royaloak
    #2 Bill Royaloak 6 December, 2023, 12:04

    Got to meet Denny at Beatle Fest in Chicago a few years back along with Lawerence Juber and Steve Holley. He seemed bitter and also grateful for his career as many rock stars wrestle with the business of rock and roll.

    I felt sad that he wasn’t able to enjoy his older years but suddenly realized that the business of rock and roll is like any other business in this world…it’s all in how you manage it. But the music he made was fantastic!

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.