Paul McCartney opens up about loss of Wings' bandmate Denny Laine

25 January 2024, 12:12

Rockshow film trailer starring Paul McCartney and Wings

By Mayer Nissim

Denny Laine had massive shoes to fill when he joined Paul McCartney in Wings.

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Paul McCartney has opened up about the loss of his former Wings bandmate Denny Laine.

Laine, guitarist in the Moody Blues and the only ever-present in Wings alongside Paul and Linda McCartney, died last month at the age of 79.

"I heard that Denny was getting better, there was hope for the future, but obviously not," McCartney told Mojo.

"It's very sad because Denny was great. Can you imagine trying to start another band after The Beatles? With Denny, we managed it."

Speaking about joining forces with Denny after The Beatles broke up, McCartney said: "After the end of The Beatles I was faced with certain alternatives.

Wings: Jimmy McCulloch, Denny Laine, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Joe English
Wings: Jimmy McCulloch, Denny Laine, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Joe English. Picture: Getty Images

"One was to give up music entirely and do God knows what. Another was to start a super-band with very famous people, Eric Clapton and so on.

"I didn’t like either so I thought: How did The Beatles start? It was a bunch of mates who didn’t know what they were doing.

"That’s when I realised maybe there is a third alternative: to get a band that isn’t massively famous, to not worry if we don’t know what we’re doing because we would form our character by learning along the way. It was a real act of faith. It was crazy, actually."

Wings - Mull Of Kintyre

When news of Denny's passing broke, it was McCartney who led the tributes to his friend and former bandmate.

"I am very saddened to hear that my ex-bandmate, Denny Laine, has died," said McCartney 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 Laine in 1981
Denny Laine in 1981. Picture: Getty Images

He added: "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.@

One of Wings' greatest achievements, 1973's Band on the Run album, is being celebrated soon with a special anniversary reissue featuring "underdubbed" mixes of its classic songs alongside remastered versions of the originals.