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Funeral takes place of former Wings guitarist Henry McCullough

David Roy
19 June, 2016 17:40

IRISH guitar star Henry McCullough has been laid to rest with a funeral which attracted an array of well-known names from the music scene.

Good Vibrations founder Terri Hooley, Them drummer John Wilson and singer Anthony Toner were among those who joined family including McCullough's wife Josie and son Jesse to pay their respects at Wade's Funeral Home in Coleraine on Saturday morning.

Stiff Records founder Dave Robinson and former Virgin Records A&R man Willie Richardson were also in attendance to mark the passing of the Portstewart-born music star who died at his home in Ballymoney last Tuesday, having endured ill health in the wake of a 2012 heart attack.

It was a peaceful end of a long and illustrious life: McCullough (72) was the only Irishman to play at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 as a member of Joe Cocker's Grease Band, also performing on their hit cover of The Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends.

Having supported the likes of Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix while with Irish rockers Eire Apparent, the Co Derry guitar-slinger went on to become a folk-rock pioneer with the short-lived Sweeney's Men.

However, he is best remembered for his work with Paul McCartney's Wings, who recruited the guitar man in 1971.

On Tuesday, the ex-Beatles star described McCullough as "a pleasure to work with, a super talented musician with a lovely sense of humour", adding that "the solo he played on My Love was a classic that he made up on the spot in front of a live orchestra."

"The orchestra came in and when they started playing, that was me – I was on the horse and I galloped through to the end," was how McCullough described the infamous session to The Irish News in 2010.

"I remember playing the first couple of bits and thinking ‘OK, minor’. The rest was down to the power of the orchestra, the electric guitar slung round my neck and knowing that if I didn’t come up with something I’d have to slink away with my head bowed.

"Luckily, I came away with feathers in my hair."

Despite failing health, McCullough continued to record and perform throughout his latter years. A number of his songs were played during Saturday's funeral service, which was followed by a cremation at Roselawn in Belfast.

Van Morrison sent a floral tribute in his absence, having eulogised the late guitar man last week.

"I know he had some difficult times recently, but he will be remembered for his long and productive career in music," said Morrison.

19 June, 2016 17:40 News

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