June 14, ’16: Wings Guitarist Henry McCullough Dies

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Henry McCullough (R) performing his “My Love” solo with Paul McCartney and Wings on a 1973 TV broadcast

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Henry McCullough, known for his work with Paul McCartney & Wings, Joe Cocker’s Grease Band, Spooky Tooth and other acts died June 14, 2016, at home from the effects of a severe heart attack he suffered in 2012.

Born in Northern Ireland on July 21, 1943, McCullough first enjoyed rock music success as a member of the band Éire Apparent, who were managed by former Animals bass player Chas Chandler’s and toured with such groups such as Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, the Move, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Eric Burdon and the Animals.

He later joined Joe Cocker’s Grease Band and is thought to be the only Irishman to play the Woodstock Festival. McCullough then played lead guitar on the Jesus Christ Superstar album and with Spooky Tooth on their 1970 album The Last Puff. According to Denny Laine, he was in the initial lineup of Paul McCartney & Wings with Laine, Denny Seiwell, and Linda McCartney, though he doesn’t appear on the credits for their 1971 album, Wild Life. and played on the hit songs “My Love,” “Hi, Hi, Hi,” and “Live and Let Die” before leaving the band in 1973.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Band on the Run, post-McCullough

It’s McCullough’s spoken words “I don’t know; I was really drunk at the time” on the Pink Floyd song, “Money.”

Paul McCartney said of his former bandmate: “I was very sad to hear that Henry McCullough, our great Wings guitarist, passed away today. He was a pleasure to work with, a super-talented musician with a lovely sense of humour. The solo he played on ‘My Love’ was a classic that he made up on the spot in front of a live orchestra. Our deepest sympathies from my family to his.”

Watch McCullough play his guitar solo on this live TV performance of “My Love” with Wings in 1973

McCullough had a massive heart attack four years earlier and suffered severe brain damage, and had reportedly been incapacitated since then.

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