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Music History Events: Funerals

June 26, 2015 President Barack Obama sings "Amazing Grace" at the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed along with eight others when a gunman opened fire during a Bible study at his church in Charleston, South Carolina.More

July 7, 2009 After a private ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, Michael Jackson's public funeral is held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Most TV networks cover the event, where Kobe Bryant, Mariah Carey, Andrae Crouch Choir, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jennifer Hudson, Magic Johnson, John Mayer, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Brooke Shields, Usher and Stevie Wonder all participate.More

September 6, 1997 Elton John sings a new version of "Candle In The Wind" at Princess Diana's funeral. This rendition, which replaces "Goodbye Norma Jean" with "Goodbye England's Rose," becomes the best-selling single of all time.More

November 27, 1991 Freddie Mercury's funeral is held in London. Just a small group of friends and family, including Elton John and Mercury's Queen bandmates, are at the private service. At the singer's request, his longtime companion Mary Austin takes his ashes - she never discloses their location.

November 12, 2004 The funeral of longtime (and highly influential) British DJ John Peel is held in Suffolk, England, with attendees including Robert Plant, The White Stripes, and members of Underworld, Pulp, and The Undertones. Peel died of a heart attack on October 25.

November 11, 2003 At the emotional funeral for Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield, Bill Medley, the remaining half of the famous blue-eyed-soul duo, sings the gospel standard "Precious Lord."

May 17, 2003 June Carter Cash's funeral is held in her hometown of Hendersonville, Tennessee. Among the 2000 mourners are Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, The Oak Ridge Boys, Sheryl Crow - and her husband, Johnny Cash.

April 30, 2003 1960s soul icon Earl King is buried in his hometown of New Orleans with an authentic jazz funeral. Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton send their condolences.

July 11, 2002 Over 200 people attend the funeral for Who bassist John Entwistle in St. Edward's Church in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, England. Entwistle was found dead in his Las Vegas hotel room on June 27th.

August 31, 2001 Aaliyah's funeral is held at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan, New York, six days after her death in a plane crash in The Bahamas. Hundreds of weeping fans march alongside the singer's casket, which is carried by a horse-drawn carriage to a private service with Gladys Knight, Lil' Kim, Sean Combs, Timbaland, and Missy Elliott in attendance. After the service, 22 doves are released in her memory, representing each year of her life.

May 20, 1998 Frank Sinatra's funeral takes place in Beverly Hills, which draws 400 invited guests and a slew of onlookers. Tony Bennett, Angie Dickinson, Joey Bishop (the only surviving member of the Rat Pack), Liza Minnelli, Jack Nicholson, Tony Danza and Tom Selleck all show up to pay their respects.

November 8, 1994 A memorial service is held for legendary guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith, late of the MC5 and The Sonics, at Mariner's Church in Detroit.

June 10, 1991 Temptation David Ruffin's funeral is held in Detroit, with attendees including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and former bandmate Eddie Kendricks, who is arrested at the service for failure to pay child support.

March 28, 1991 The funeral is held for Eric Clapton's son Conor, who was 4 years old when he fell to his death out an open window. Clapton's song "Tears In Heaven" is about Conor.

April 11, 1990 Elton John plays at the funeral for Ryan White, an 18 year old who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. Michael Jackson also attends the funeral and later dedicates the song "Gone Too Soon" to White.

April 5, 1987 Jazz drummer Buddy Rich's funeral takes place in Los Angeles, with Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw, and Johnny Carson in attendance.

April 5, 1984 Marvin Gaye's funeral takes place in Los Angeles, with Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and Berry Gordy attending. Gaye died 4 days earlier when he was shot by his father during an argument.

August 18, 1977 Elvis Presley's funeral is held at Graceland, where 150 guests are invited inside and about 75,000 fans pay their respects outside.

January 31, 1971 Mahalia Jackson's funeral is held at Chicago's Great Salem Baptist Church. Over 40,000 mourners attend the open-casket service, which features a closing version of "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" performed by Aretha Franklin. Famous mourners include Coretta Scott King, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Sammy Davis Jr.

July 10, 1969 The funeral is held for The Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones, who was found dead in his swimming pool on July 3rd.

August 28, 1967 In San Francisco, Grateful Dead, along with Janis Joplin's group Big Brother & the Holding Company, play the funeral of a Hell's Angel killed after being hit by a car.

January 2, 1955 In Memphis, the funeral is held for Blues star Johnny Ace, who accidentally shot himself on December 25, 1954. His pallbearers include Junior Parker and Roscoe Gordon.

May 26, 2017 Chris Cornell is laid to rest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles next to Johnny Ramone. Mourners at the funeral service include Dave Navarro, Tom Morello, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Courtney Love and his Soundgarden bandmates Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil. Cornell hanged himself on May 18.More

May 2, 2012 Greg Ham's funeral takes place at the Fitzroy Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia, with more than 300 mourners attending. The Men at Work flute player died two weeks earlier on April 19, at his home in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton North. Among the many mourners attending, are his partner, Linda Wostry, from whom he had recently separated, and Men At Work bass player John Rees. At the end of the service, to the strains of jazz music, Greg's 20-year-old son Max stands on the steps of the town hall, holding a framed photo of his father, while his sister, Greg's 17-year-old daughter Camille, releases a single white dove into the sky. The mourners then give the troubled musician a final round of applause as his coffin drives away down the streets of Melbourne.

July 7, 2009 Lionel Richie got his first big break when The Commodores snagged 42 dates in the opening slot for The Jackson 5 in 1972. Thirty-seven years later on the same date, he performs The Commodores song "Jesus is Love" at a memorial service for the late Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

June 20, 2006 Billy Preston's funeral is held at the Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California. Among the mourners are Little Richard, Andrae Crouch, Della Reese, The Temptations' Ali-Ollie Woodson and Joe Cocker, who sings his Preston-penned hit "You Are So Beautiful."More

October 25, 1977 Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd is laid to rest in a Jacksonville cemetery five days after dying in a plane crash that also killed band members Steve and Cassie Gaines. Skynyrd piano player Billy Powell is the only band member healthy enough to attend the funeral, and even he is on crutches with stitches on his face from the crash.

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