THOUSANDS PAY RESPECTS TO JOHN LEE HOOKER

Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy and Ry Cooder are among those paying respect to the legendary bluesman...

Blues legend JOHN LEE HOOKER was buried yesterday (June 28) following a service in California in front of a congregation of 1,800, including many friends, family and fellow musicians.

During the funeral, held at Oakland Interstate Center Auditorium to accommodate all those wishing to pay respect, the late star’s coffin rested flanked by a chair made of gardenias and an oversized guitar fashioned from deep red and black carnations. Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Buddy Guy and members of Hooker’s band were amongst the mourners.

During a tearful eulogy to her friend of 30 years, Raitt recounted seeing Hooker for the first time as a 14 year old, at 1963’s Newport Folk Festival. “I had never heard anything coming out of any man that was as scary and evocative and as intoxicating [and as frightening]. And I feel the same way about him today,” she said.

Hooker‘s eldest daughter, Francis C. McBee, was another of the mourners who spoke, reading a letter to her father. “You did things your way until the end,” she read. “Instead of dying during the day, you died during the night so that you could have a clean getaway. Instead of leaving by the front door, you stepped out the back door and went quietly into history.”

Sonicnet reports that on his deathbed Hooker insisted on no fussing on his passing.

“When I’m gone, I don’t want any weeping, crying, falling around, gnashing of teeth,” he said. “I want people to be joyous, because I’m going home. I’m tired. I’ve made a journey.”

John Lee Hooker died on June 21. He was 83.