Glasgow & West Scotland

Gerry Rafferty's funeral is held in Paisley

Gerry Raffery's funeral
Image caption (Clockwise from top) Gerry Rafferty's coffin, First Minister Alex Salmond, order of service, The Proclaimers

About 400 people have attended the funeral of Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty in his home town of Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Rafferty - best known for his hit single Baker Street - died two weeks ago at the age of 63.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, The Proclaimers, and artist John Byrne, were among those attending the Requiem Mass at St Mirin's Cathedral.

Rafferty died at his home in Dorset on 4 January following a long illness.

The service took place in the cathedral where Rafferty married his wife Carla, from whom he split in the 1990s.

'Wonderfully talented'

Mourners included his daughter Martha, granddaughter Celia and other family members.

The funeral Mass was celebrated by Father John Tormey, who described Rafferty as a "wonderfully talented Paisley man".

He 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."

Other mourners at the service included MSPs Hugh Henry, Wendy Alexander and Robin Harper.

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.

"He was very, very funny, Gerard. He was a very serious and very thoughtful person."

'Strong spirit'

Mr Byrne said he went to see Rafferty in November.

He 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."

During the service six members of Rafferty's family sang one of his lesser-known songs, Whatever's Written in Your Heart.

After the Mass, Rafferty's coffin was placed in a waiting hearse and white flowers were heaped upon it.

Image caption Playwright and artist John Byrne gave the eulogy

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.

"I was on the phone to Charlie Reid from The Proclaimers and asked him about Letter From America, which Gerry Rafferty helped produce, and he was talking about how kind he had been to them as young musicians.

"Part of the legacy is what you do for people that come after so I think that is a fitting tribute."

Rafferty had battled a drink problem and spent time in hospital in Bournemouth with liver failure before his death.

Struggled with success

His career high came in the 1970s and included Baker Street and Stuck in the Middle with You, recorded with his band Stealers Wheel.

Baker Street charted in the UK and US in 1978 after Rafferty began his solo career and is still played on radio stations around the world.

In 1987, Rafferty co-produced Letter from America, a massive hit for Scottish band The Proclaimers.

Charlie Reid, from the band, told BBC Scotland he had "exclusively good memories" of making the record.

Reid said that Rafferty had been at the "absolute top of the commercial tree" but had struggled with his success.

"He was not entirely comfortable with fame," he said.

"Even more so than most people who work in this business, he saw it as not a good thing.

"He was quite proud of the fact he had only been recognised a couple of times by people coming up to him saying 'are you Gerry Rafferty?'."

"Apparently both times he had denied it and said he was his brother."

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