McCartney pays tribute as Irish guitarist Henry McCullough dies

Portstewart native played with Wings and Joe Cocker and starred at Woodstock in 1969

Former Wings guitarist Henry McCullough, from Portstewart, Co Derry, who has died aged 72. File photograph: Ronnie Norton/PA Wire

Former Wings guitarist Henry McCullough, from Portstewart, Co Derry, who has died aged 72. File photograph: Ronnie Norton/PA Wire

a
 

Henry McCullough, the Northern Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter who was the only Irishman to play at Woodstock in 1969 and later with Paul McCartney’s Wings, has died.

Born in Portstewart, Co Derry, in 1943, the 72-year-old musician, who played with some of the most famous rock musicians of the last half-century, died at his Antrim home on Tuesday.

Paul McCartney has paid warm tribute to the Irishman on his website.

McCullough’s career began in the early 1960s with Enniskillen showband The Skyrockets.

Henry McCullough plays My Love with Paul McCartney & Wings

By 1967 he was performing original material with Eire Apparent, a London-based Irish band that toured with Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix.

Following a year in Ireland with folk-rock group Sweeney’s Men, he moved back to London in 1969 to work with UK singer Joe Cocker and The Grease Band.

Woodstock Festival appearance

He played with Cocker during his US tour that year, which included the Woodstock Festival of August 1969, giving McCullough his own unique place in Irish music history.

In 1971 he was asked by Paul McCartney to join his post-Beatles group, Wings, contributing the famous guitar solo on the band’s 1973 number one single My Love that is regarded as one of the best in rock music.

Writing in tribute on his website, McCartney said: “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.”

a