Folk singer Billy Bragg and Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood honored Kirsty MacColl at a memorial service Saturday by singing her songs.
The British singer was killed on December 18 when a speedboat struck her while she was swimming with her two sons off the coast of Mexico. She was 41.
According to a MacColl family spokesperson, who described the ceremony as reflective, Bragg opened the service by singing "A New England," a song he wrote that MacColl made a hit in 1985.
"While others just sing about issues, Kirsty got involved," Bragg said at the memorial, according to London newspaper The Independent. "I considered her not just a friend but a comrade." Johnson ended the ceremony by joining MacColl's band on the bittersweet "Don't Come the Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim," according to The Independent. More than 900 people packed into London's Saint Martin-in-the-Fields Church near Trafalgar Square, including friends and family such as U2's Bono, television host and ex-Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland and comedian Phill Jupitus.
A collection was held after the service for the Cuba Music Fund, which has been set up in memory of MacColl. She was working on a BBC show about Cuban music at the time of her death, and she had become involved in the campaign to lift U.S. sanctions against Cuba.
MacColl released her debut single, "They Don't Know," on Stiff Records in 1979, and although it failed to chart in the U.S. or England, Tracey Ullman's cover version was a hit in both countries in 1984. MacColl scored her own hit with "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop (Swears He's Elvis)" in 1981 and released her latest album, Tropical Brainstorm, last year.