Denny Laine of Wings, Moody Blues dies in Naples. McCartney calls him 'a great talent.'

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Denny Laine of Wings and The Moody Blues
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Denny Laine of Wings and The Moody Blues
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Denny Laine has died in Naples, his wife announced Tuesday. He was 79 years old.

The former The Moody Blues and Wings member had struggled with various health issues since getting COVID-19 last year.

"My darling husband passed away peacefully early this morning," Laine's wife, Elizabeth Hines, wrote on Facebook. "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."

Laine was the original lead singer and guitarist for classic-rock greats The Moody Blues. He also worked side-by-side with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney throughout the ‘70s in their hugely popular band Wings.

The singer-guitarist died Tuesday morning at Naples' NCH Baker Hospital, his publicist Alan Miller confirmed. Laine had been in and out of the hospital for a collapsed lung, bacterial infections and other issues.

Denny Laine (left), Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney were the core of Wings.
Denny Laine (left), Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney were the core of Wings.

"He and I both believed he would overcome his health setbacks and return to the rehabilitation center and eventually home," Hines wrote on Facebook. "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."

Paul McCartney: 'Peace and love Denny. It was a pleasure to know you.'

Comments started pouring in on social media soon after the announcement of Laine's death, including Laine's friend and former bandmate Paul McCartney.

"I am very saddened to hear that my ex-bandmate, Denny Laine, has died," McCartney wrote on Facebook. "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."

McCartney wrote that he and Laine "drifted apart" after Wings, but had reestablished their friendship in recent years.

"Denny was a great talent with a fine sense of humour and was always ready to help other people," McCartney wrote. "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."

Musicians pay tribute to the late Denny Laine: Paul McCartney, Axl Rose, Little Steven, Nancy Wilson of Heart and many more

More Denny Laine tributes pour in

By Wednesday morning, more than 2,300 people had commented on Hines' Facebook post.  Fans and musicians called Laine "a music legend," "an incredible talent," "a great guy" and "a special soul," among other things.

Peter Rocky Morley − road manager for Paul McCartney and Wings − described Laine as a good friend and a lovely man. "We enjoyed a lot of good times when I worked for 'Wings.' He will be missed."

Wings fan Matthew Jordan of London called Laine admired, respected and loved. "His music has brought me endless joy over decades. His sensational harmonies and fantastic guitar work were crucial contributions to all of those songs."

Other musicians posted tributes on their own social media pages.

“Rest in peace, Denny," Micky Dolenz of The Monkees wrote on X and Facebook. "A friend, a wonderful person, and a great musician. You and your music will be sorely missed.”

Rocker/actor Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band also paid tribute to Laine on Facebook.

"RIP Denny Laine," Van Zandt wrote. "Fantastic first and best lead singer of the Moody Blues. Their very rootsy R&B based classic first album remains their best thanks to Denny. Go Now forever one of the great vocals of all time."

Mike Pinder − a founding member and keyboardist for The Moody Blues − called their time writing songs together in that band both "inspiring" and "an exciting time in our lives."

"When I think of Denny I will remember his fun loving sense of humor and the musical collaboration we shared ..." he wrote on Facebook. "Denny shared his tremendous talent and joyful love of life with us and for that we can all be grateful. We will miss you."

Denny Laine's wife: 'My world will never be the same.'

In her Facebook post, Hines thanked Laine's surgeons, doctors, specialists, physical therapists and nurses at NCH Baker Hospital. "Thank you for your compassion and support for me during these past several emotional months."

She also thanked everyone else who has offered kinds words since Laine's illness started.

"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," she wrote. "I thank you all for sending both of us love and support."

Hines called it an "honor and privilege" to be Laine's wife and care for him during his illness.

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Denny Laine of Wings and The Moody Blues
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Denny Laine of Wings and The Moody Blues

"My world will never be the same," she wrote. "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."

Laine's health battle started with COVID-19

Laine's health problems started when he got COVID-19 in March 2022, Hines said in October. He recovered within five days, she says – or so they thought.

But more issues kept coming up, including an ongoing bacterial infection in his blood and a collapsed lung, which required surgery to insert a chest tube. “He’s been in and out of the hospital since July,” Hines said.

Laine and Hines were married July 11 after seven years together, she said. They moved to North Naples about three years ago.

“I wanted to get out of the New York weather,” Laine told the Naples Daily News/The News-Press in July. “But not only that, I love this sort of lifestyle. I like the sun, I like boats. I love Naples."

Musical life: McCartney bandmate discusses life in Naples, Wings, Moody Blues

Laine's time in The Moody Blues, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction

Laine and other members of The Moody Blues − including John Lodge, also of Naples − were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Laine said he didn't hang out with Lodge, though, and met him for the first and only time during their induction together.

As a founding guitarist and lead singer for The Moody Blues, Laine was there for the band’s first brush with success. That included their hit cover of Bessie Banks’ R&B song “Go Now.”

Of course, the band went on to even bigger success after Laine left. They transitioned from R&B to rock ‘n’ roll with the help of new members Justin Hayward and John Lodge, and then they scored even bigger hits with songs like “Your Wildest Dreams” and “Nights in White Satin.”

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Denny Laine of Wings and The Moody Blues
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Denny Laine of Wings and The Moody Blues

Laine said he was just fine with that, too.

“I love the new Moodys,” he said in July. “I love that version of them. I always did. I thought they were good."

The British-born Laine admitted that getting inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame didn’t mean as much to him as it does to Americans.

“I hate to sound flippant about it,” he said. “but I wasn’t bothered either way.”

He blamed his upbringing and home country.

“It’s not something that we have in England,” he said. “It’s not something we grow up with. Over here (in the United States), it’s a pretty big deal.”

Making rock hits with McCartney in Wings

The Moody Blues was Laine's first big band, but he's much better known for his work with Paul McCartney's Wings in the '70s. He worked side-by-side with the ex-Beatle, and together they packed arenas with hits like “Band on the Run,” “Live and Let Die” and “Silly Love Songs."

Laine knew McCartney for years before joining Wings in 1971. The Moody Blues had even toured with The Beatles, he said.

That relationship was partly why Laine ended up in Wings with McCartney and his wife Linda.

“I think he wanted somebody he knew, who wasn’t going to treat him like a superstar or whatever,” Laine said in July. “It was hard for him to start again, obviously (after The Beatles broke up). He had a lot to live up to, or at least he wanted to go in his own direction and see what people thought of it.”

Laine said it was hard to nail down who wrote which songs in Wings. He said he co-wrote “Band on the Run” and "Mull of Kintyre,” for example, but other songs are a little harder to figure out.

“You can’t pin that down,” he said. “Either he would come up with a song and I would help him finish it, or vice versa. Or we’d sit down and say, 'OK, we’re gonna spend tomorrow writing songs.' And that’s what we’d do.”

Charles Runnells is an arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. To reach him, call 239-335-0368 (for tickets to shows, call the venue) or email him at Follow or message him on social media: Facebook (, X (formerly Twitter) (@charlesrunnells), Threads (@crunnells1) and Instagram (@crunnells1).

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Denny Laine of Wings, Moody Blues dies in Naples after COVID battle