Goodnight, Sweet Kate

January 20, 2010

I was greatly saddened to see the passing of Kate McGarrigle, mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright and sister of Anna and Jane. I thought her cancer was in remission but evidently it returned. She touched many lives and helped shape the aesthetic of one of the great songwriters on the planet, Rufus Wainwright.

Like many Americans, “Heart Like a Wheel” sung by Linda Ronstadt was our first introduction to this great talent. A big heart she had. She will be sorely missed, and I am sorry for her family’s loss.

And a recent and final performance of her lovely “Tell Me of Mendocino” — funny banter between Rufus and Kate at the beginning. Touching harmony.

And her final composition and a touching performance of the December 2009 Royal Albert Hall performance of “Proserpina.”

The LA Times reported that the family stood around her bed singing as she died.

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