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Stevie Ray Vaughan

With his astonishingly accomplished guitar playing, Stevie Ray Vaughan ignited the blues revival of the '80s. Vaughan drew equally from bluesmen like Albert King, Otis Rush, and Muddy Waters and rock & roll players like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack, as well as the stray jazz guitarist like Kenny Burrell, developing a uniquely eclectic and fiery style that sounded like no other guitarist, regardless of genre. Vaughan bridged the gap between blues and rock like no other artist had since the late '60s. For the next seven years, Stevie Ray was the leading light in American blues, consistently selling out concerts while his albums regularly went gold. His tragic death in 1990 only emphasized his influence in blues and American rock & roll.

Born and raised in Dallas, Vaughan began playing guitar as a child, inspired by older brother Jimmie. When he was in junior high school, he began playing in a number of garage bands, which occasionally landed gigs in local nightclubs. By the time he was 17, he had dropped out of high school to concentrate on playing music. Vaughan's first real band was the Cobras, who played clubs and bars in Austin during the mid-'70s. Following that group's demise, he formed Triple Threat in 1975. Triple Threat also featured bassist Jackie Newhouse, drummer Chris Layton, and vocalist Lou Ann Barton. After a few years of playing Texas bars and clubs, Barton left the band in 1978. The group decided to continue performing under the name Double Trouble, which was inspired by the Otis Rush song of the same name; Vaughan became the band's lead singer.

For the next few years, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble played the Austin area, becoming one of the most popular bands in Texas. In 1982, the band played the Montreux Festival and their performance caught the attention of David Bowie and Jackson Browne. After Double Trouble's performance, Bowie asked Vaughan to play on his forthcoming album, while Browne offered the group free recording time at his Los Angeles studio, Downtown; both offers were accepted. Stevie Ray laid down the lead guitar tracks for what became Bowie's Let's Dance album in late 1982. Shortly afterward, John Hammond, Sr. landed Vaughan and Double Trouble a record contract with Epic, and the band recorded its debut album in less than a week at Downtown.

Vaughan's debut album, Texas Flood, was released in the summer of 1983, a few months after Bowie's Let's Dance appeared. On its own, Let's Dance earned Vaughan quite a bit of attention, but Texas Flood was a blockbuster blues success; receiving positive reviews in both blues and rock publications, reaching number 38 on the charts, and crossing over to album rock radio stations. Bowie offered Vaughan the lead guitarist role for his 1983 stadium tour, but he turned him down, preferring to play with Double Trouble. Vaughan and Double Trouble set off on a successful tour and quickly recorded their second album, Couldn't Stand the Weather, which was released in May of 1984. The album was more successful than its predecessor, reaching number 31 on the charts; by the end of 1985, the album went gold. Double Trouble added keyboardist Reese Wynans in 1985, before they recorded their third album, Soul to Soul. The record was released in August 1985 and was also quite successful, reaching number 34 on the charts.

Although his professional career was soaring, Vaughan was sinking deep into alcoholism and drug addiction. Despite his declining health, Vaughan continued to push himself, releasing the double live album Live Alive in October of 1986 and launching an extensive American tour in early 1987. Following the tour, Vaughan checked into a rehabilitation clinic. The guitarist's time in rehab was kept fairly quiet, and for the next year Stevie Ray and Double Trouble were fairly inactive. Vaughan performed a number of concerts in 1988, including a headlining gig at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and wrote his fourth album. The resulting record, In Step, appeared in June of 1989 and became his most successful album, peaking at number 33 on the charts, earning a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Recording, and going gold just over six months after its release.

In the spring of 1990, Stevie Ray recorded an album with his brother Jimmie, which was scheduled for release in the fall of the year. In the late summer of 1990, Vaughan and Double Trouble set out on an American headlining tour. On August 26, 1990, their East Troy, WI, gig concluded with an encore jam featuring guitarists Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, and Robert Cray. After the concert, Stevie Ray boarded a helicopter bound for Chicago. Minutes after its 12:30 a.m. takeoff, the helicopter crashed, killing Vaughan and the other four passengers. He was only 35 years old.

Family Style, Stevie Ray's duet album with Jimmie, appeared in October and entered the charts at number seven. Family Style began a series of posthumous releases that were as popular as the albums Vaughan released during his lifetime. The Sky Is Crying, a collection of studio outtakes compiled by Jimmie, was released in October of 1991; it entered the charts at number ten and went platinum three months after its release. In the Beginning, a recording of a Double Trouble concert in 1980, was released in the fall of 1992 and the compilation Greatest Hits was released in 1995. In 1999, Vaughan's original albums were remastered and reissued, with The Real Deal: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 also appearing that year. 2000 saw the release of the four-disc box SRV, which concentrated heavily on outtakes, live performances, and rarities. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Milosdad-agr e e d . I saw srv at a place called bessies boathousd
Stevie you are missed
GiturMojoWor k i n


Seen Stevie three times while living in Texas being a huge blues fan, seeing just about everyone that plays blues, except Muddy, I would have to say for a white boy he came from the heart with his playing. His soulfulness you can hear in his playing. Being a guitarist myself, to play the blues it has to come from your soul. He captures that not only in his playing but his vocals as well. I remember Albert King St. Louis late 70's he mentioned Stevie had the right soul. RIP
milosdad
Many say these kind of things but for all who saw him chime in on this comment. As good as his records were, they did not capture his spirit. His live shows were incredible. Rarely have I seen a tighter band and nobody who attended his shows ever walked away with anything less than getting their minds blown away.
milosdad
I skipped his last show because I was eager to get back to Texas and I was low on cash. I still remember getting to Texas and hearing the news. It hit me like a ton of bricks. To call him a friend would be stretching it. We were merely familiar. It still hurts after all these years though.
milosdad
I've said this before but I saw the Fire Meets the Fury tour with Stevie and Jeff Beck. They would alternate headline positions throughout and because the show was in Austin, Beck opened. After Beck got off the stage I thought to myself how is Stevie going to top that? He answered the second he got on stage. He blew Beck away. As a Texan, I was fortunate enough to meet him and see him perform many times. His signed backstage pass from his last tour is one of my prized possessions.
dougthepilot 8 1 6
Came to Ohio Univerity's Memorial Auditorim in 1985...Didn' t go because I'd never heard of SRV...boy what a mistake that was!!!
To much soul from one man. He felt everything he played.
Not a lefty...
Left handed bad motherf**ker . All rock & roll. Hell yea!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Sorry dude,SRV was awesome.But, Eric Clapton is a tough act to follow.No disrespect to anyone.
The man could play the the guitar great. You don't need to read music to be my Hero . R.I.P my friend.
jassy808


Hjjjjjjjjhjj
blainefriddl e 6 0
Real talk
blainefriddl e 6 0
Stevie Ray Vaughan is before my time but love his music
I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan at Vets in Columbus, Ohio, long ago. I went because of the album, Couldn't Stand The Weather. I wasn't ready for all the rest... I left the show completely and greatfully fried. Awesome<><
I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan at Vets in Columbus long ago, Amazing... I was completely cooked after his concert. I went because of Double Trouble... I was not ready for the rest. !!!Wow!!!<><
closet and maybe better at blues than eric clapton
O M G!
Gary Clark Jr is a player 2
Only saw him in concert once. Saw him at school all the time and at practice.
One of the GREATEST!!!!
Died the wrong way and needs to be in rock-n-roll hall of fame
Would of loved to this guy in person, the best
I had many good times listening to great blues from this guy in Austin
XOXOrip
amye45
loved his pimp hats
And thanks for not being a plumber or something instead... : )!
Thank you Stevie
Stevie IS the single best guitarist of all time, period.
The lord had to take SRV when he did because Stevie got too good for our world! =/
msilvermerli n
there's room for every one, share the love not the hate, I like everything fom blues, classical, metal, pop, but that's what the 80's were like, the radio and MTV(that played videos) would play ACDC then Tompson Twins back to back. oooh got to go Ozzy is on.. got to jam
bristle_dwel l e r
Don't sell buddy guy short as far as who has the crown
ANOTHER BLUES STRINGER CALLED HOME........ c h e c k out his brother Jimmy not too shabby either !!!!!
Never saw him live...had a chance once but ,did not have the cash....if I would have known then what I know now, I would have sold a kidney...suc h a great artist
mewilcox5
I saw SRV many times in Austin & Dallas in the 80s - always a good show. One of my favs was SRV w/ Eric Johnson at the Bronco Bowl; I was leaning on the stage and got many great photos of Stevie that night!
Una m**rda
Check out this rising star: Quinn Sullivan. I saw this adolescent prodigy play with Buddy Guy in Newport, R.I. last year. If he keeps his fingers to the strings he may become one of the greatest. Play on Quinn!
2nd fav g tar player next to derek trucks mad trax .goin back to some howlin wolf now. hey ladies get funkie trb.lmb.

I make the sounds that he makes at the end of the song with my guitar and I'm making noise. He makes it and he's a god. :)

Relax everyone, I'm joking. He makes even noise sound awesome.
How does BB keep the crown? ?????
catrobare
:-( Saw him with BB King, summer of 90 or 91, Best concert of my life!!!!
I miss him so much!! His music can always raise the hairs on my arms n neck. RIP brother!!
this is awesome
bfriedman37
I was one of the lucky ones who got to see Stevie with the Triple Threat Revue in Austin during the mid-seventie s . Except the line-up of musicians listed here is incorrect. W.C.Clark was the bass player. And Mike Kindred was the drummer in that band. They were smokin'!!
mabrennan0
rbwhisk-shut t h e f u c k u p
ssparks656
Listened to are you experienced album until my album was in tatters
rbwhisk
Live a good life and maybe you'll see him again.
rbwhisk
Excuse me, you didn't loose him. He was never yours.
I remember the day we lost him, it was a very sad day.
hodgdons7
Gone Home just reinforces SRV's skills. Sad loss to music lovers.
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