Denny Laine, co-founder of Moody Blues and Wings, dies at 79

Denny Laine performs in concert, during a tribute tour to The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club album, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on August 25, 2008. Laine, who co-founded the Moody Blues and the band Wings with Paul McCartney, died Tuesday at the age of 79. File photo by Michael Bush/UPI
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Denny Laine, singer-guitarist, songwriter and co-founder of the bands the Moody Blues and Wings, has died at the age of 79.

Laine's wife, Elizabeth Hines, wrote in a post on Laine's official Instagram account that the musician died Tuesday after a long battle with interstitial lung disease and after being "in ICU on a ventilator this past week."

"My darling husband passed away peacefully early this morning," Hines wrote. "He fought everyday. He was so strong and brave, never complained."

Paul McCartney, who formed the band Wings with Laine after The Beatles broke up, expressed his sorrow Tuesday and called his friend a "great talent."

"I am very saddened to hear that my ex-bandmate, Denny Laine, has died," McCartney wrote in a post on Instagram. "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 was a great talent with a fine sense of humor and was always ready to help other people. He will be missed by all of his fans and remembered with great fondness by his friends," McCartney added.

Laine -- who was born Brian Frederick Hines -- and McCartney released Wings' debut album Wild Life in 1971 and their second album Red Rose Speedway in 1973, which included the number one hit "My Love." That followed with more successes with the album Band on the Run, for which they won their first of two Grammy Awards for the title track in 1975.

"If Paul was on piano, I'd have a bit more freedom to find my own guitar part. I was quite easy to do that with him," Laine said in an interview with Guitar World earlier this year. "You have to remember -- he and I grew up with the same musical tastes. We listened to all the same bits, so we have a very similar style."

Before joining McCartney on Wings, Laine was best known for the Moody Blues, the band he formed in 1964 and the band for which he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

"We started out a little bit like bands in London -- the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, all those people, Jeff Beck. We were all into the blues," Laine said in a 2018 interview with the Austin Chronicle.

"The Moody Blues and the Spencer Davis Group were the only blues bands that came from Birmingham to London and started being a part of that scene. So we were listening to old blues and eventually got a hit with 'Go Now,' which is basically a gospel style song," Laine added. The song, featuring Laine's lead vocals, catapulted the band to stardom and touring with the Beatles.

"We knew The Beatles because the Moodys were one of the opening acts on their second tour," Laine said during a 2019 interview, adding that that was where he met McCartney before breaking off from the Moody Blues in 1966 and forming the Electric String Band.

"Because he was impressed with seeing me trying to do something different onstage with my Electric String Band, and because we became friends, that inspired him to call me because he wanted to do something new and different ... and Wings was formed," Laine said of McCartney.

When Laine passed away Tuesday, he was working on a new album and had wrapped up a tour of his "Songs & Stories" live show in which he performed his decades of music.

"I can't live without live work," Laine told Guitar World. "There's no substitute for playing live and getting the feeling of connecting with the audience."