Hundreds say farewell to musician Gerry Rafferty
Friday 21 January 2011
Gerry Rafferty's daughter said farewell to her father by singing one of his songs at his funeral today.
Martha Rafferty was joined by five other family members to sing Whatever's Written In Your Heart without accompaniment at the service.
Hundreds of mourners packed into St Mirin's Cathedral in Paisley, Renfrewshire, to pay their last respects to the Scottish musician, best known for his 1978 hit Baker Street.
He died on January 4 in Stroud, Gloucestershire, at the age of 63 following a long illness.
Proclaimers duo Charlie and Craig Reid, First Minister Alex Salmond and MSPs Hugh Henry, Wendy Alexander and Robin Harper were among those who attended the Requiem Mass, along with the singer-songwriter's friends and family, including his granddaughter Celia.
His friend, playwright and artist John Byrne, gave the eulogy and said he felt "privileged" to have known Rafferty.
He said: "I think back to the wonderful times and memories of when we all used to go up to the old art deco Rogano in Glasgow. We had great nights and great fun and great talk, food, and great songs.
"Gerry was very single-minded, which he used wonderfully well. He had hundreds and hundreds of wonderful, brilliant and marvellous songs."
Byrne described his friend as "very, very funny" and a "very serious and very thoughtful person".
He went to see Rafferty in November and said: "When I saw him in Stroud a few weeks before he died, his spirit was strong and he had a serenity about him which I thought was wonderful."
The service took place in the cathedral where Rafferty married his wife Carla, from whom he split in the 1990s.
It stands less than a mile from where Rafferty was born.
The Mass was led by Father John Tormey, who said: "He was a talented musician and a warm and loving person to his family and friends, and was a loving and devoted father and grandfather, and a wonderful soulmate to those close to him.
"He was very much aware of the spiritual element and you will find that in his songs.
"He always searched for a more authentic way to live his life, shunning the outward trappings of celebrity so that he might live as he chose to live his life."
Towards the end of the service, Martha and other family members came forward to sing one of her father's lesser-known pieces which includes the refrain "Whatever's written in your heart, that's all that matters".
After the Mass, Rafferty's pale wood coffin was placed in a waiting hearse and white flowers were heaped upon it.
As the vehicle pulled away, onlookers gave a round of applause.
The service was followed by a private cremation.
Speaking outside the cathedral, Mr Salmond said he was particularly touched by the family singing one of Rafferty's songs.
He said: "The highlight was the family singing. How they managed to deliver such a wonderful melody in these circumstances... it was a really emotional moment and a fitting tribute to a great musician.
"His legacy lives on. The saxophone piece from Baker Street has been thumping in my head all of my life."
The musician cut his teeth as a busker and went on to appear with Billy Connolly's folk group The Humblebums.
He later formed Stealers Wheel, with whom he scored a huge hit in 1972 with Stuck In The Middle With You.
The song underwent a renaissance in the early 1990s when it was featured in Quentin Tarantino's hit film Reservoir Dogs.
Baker Street, with its distinctive saxophone solo, reached number three in the UK charts and number two in the US.
Rafferty was said to have earned £80,000 a year from the royalties on that song alone.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
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