Hundreds Say Farewell to Blues Guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan
DALLAS (AP) _ More than 1,000 mourners, led by Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Stevie Wonder, sang a bluesy version of the ancient hymn ″Amazing Grace″ on Friday at a graveside service for blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The singer’s fans, some dressed in black, some in T-shirts from his concerts, and some wearing replicas of Vaughan’s trademark black felt hat, stood in the sweltering heat for as long as three hours.
Vaughan, 35, died Monday in a helicopter crash in Wisconsin after headlining a concert Sunday night with Eric Clapton and Robert Cray.
Vaughan’s mother, Martha Vaughan, was accompanied by her older son, Jimmie Vaughan, the founder of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s fiancee, Janna Lapidus. Ringo Starr was there, as were members of ZZ Top.
Mourners began arriving before 10 a.m. for the noon graveside service, and their numbers swelled steadily. By the start of the service, fans were lined up nine and 10 deep outside restraining barriers across a road from the burial site. They heard the services over a public address system.
Stevie and Jimmie Vaughan had just completed an album, ″Family Style,″ set for release in September. Producer Al Rogers played a cut, ″Tick Tock,″ from the album at the service.
Many in the crowd got teary-eyed during the song, and applause and whistles broke out when it ended. ″I’m glad you applauded,″ said presiding minister Barry Bailey. ″That was appropriate.″
More applause followed the blues-style version of ″Amazing Grace″ near the end of the half-hour service.
″We grew up with him in Oak Cliff,″ said Pat Beam of Grand Prairie.
A friend, Neoma Mayo, said: ″He taught her brother to play the guitar, and we loved him dearly. I appreciate the family sharing this with us. He’s given all of us so much.″
″When he was playing the guitar, you sometimes found yourself caught up more in what he was doing than in your own thing. He was always fun to play with,″ said Damien Womack, 36, a drummer who performed with Vaughan.