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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

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RIP. Always in our hearts
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SRV 11 minutes plus
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There will never be another SRV in my life time!
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Was there the night before he died too. Best show ever
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Stevie plays Voodoo Child just as well as JH, if not better.
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Stevie Ray lived in momma V's house on Glenfield in Oak Cliff 2 blocks from me. i lived on Engle
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I feel Stevie ray Vaughan soul through his music an miss seeing him an hearing new music but always loved but never forgotten
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RIP Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Your were a incredible guitar player and legend just like Jimi Hendrix. There has never been another guitar player that can play as well as you since your passing. So glad that I got to see you play a private show in Atlanta, GA. before you passed away. I never saw anybody play the guitar in person the way you played. Such a tragic end to a short lived life, of a very talented gentleman and electric guitar player.
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construction 7 0
You must be awesome
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boring bands. all talk no shock.
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By the way I'm getting an iron bird guitar for my b day
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hes just another texan guy with a fender strat. He misses his woman. I'm from Texas and own a Jackson Power V and a Bc Rich Warlock.
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Simply the Best. Ever. Period. Gone way too soon. Just think of what could have been......
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I would love to see a video of his last gig, is one out there anywhere ?
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It is sad he had such an untimely death. He was one of the greats.. And didn't have very long to really grow and develop
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We. Love. Him
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Connie Hale commented when you listen to his music it is if he is still here. One of the greatest inspiration in music and a good man.
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He is the Man. One of the best guitarist of all time! !!!!!!!!!!!!
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Not many do it better...RIP SRV
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Gone too soon
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As good as it gets!!!
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craig6921
Miss this Legand
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Mid-80's, SRV opened for Allman Brothers, Mansfield, MA.
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Saw SRV, EARLY 90'S @WORCESTER WITH JEFF BECK. GREAT F**KIN SHOW!!
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Saw SRV open for Dire Straits in Toronto 1985.
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Nice
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I don't who the best is, but if better then srv he would need to go someplace special with a guitar!
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Happy I was able to see him live. He was the opening act for Robert Plant in the late 80s. I walked into the venue excited to see Plant and not caring who the opening act was, but left that night blown away by SRV.
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amye45
Let's Dance
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I have signed guitar of stevie from my grandpa when he went to a concert!
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Nice, SRV
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parrotboy368 2
Inducted (with Double Trouble) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2015. Please add this to his bio. We all miss you, buddy,
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I saw him the night before he died. What a line up of blues men. Eric Clapton , Stevie ,Robert cray and the late Jeff Healy. It was at alpine valley Wisconsin. That day will be etched in my head and heart forever.
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Bad. A**. Still. Cry. When. I think. Of. Him. R.I.P.
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brightnessfa l l s 0 5
Saw Jeff beck, Clapton, Johnny Winter, Mike Bloomfield, Jimi Hendrix and lit a smoke for Jimmy Page on his first tour with Zeppelin and Stevie is and well deserves to be mentioned with all these guys with equal reverence.
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I used to live in Oak Cliff early 90s
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Saw him at Cardies or was it the Aggora Ballroom? Can't remember some little hole in Houston a long long time ago. we both were pretty young.
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2hearts1mind 1 3
sound!!! :) :)
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November 24, 1989 in Houston Texas. I got to see Stevie Ray. Best part of the night was when he broke out his double neck guitar and his brother Jimmy played the top and Stevie played the bottom, all at the same time.

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You know it seems to me that most people who deal with heavy issues in life and overcome them go on to their next beautiful lives ,amen!
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santacruz198 2 v
Gracias
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The pride of Dallas Texas SRV rocks
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Crunch, thats how I feel too. I love when Pandora plays something that you dont hear all the time. Little gems I forget about til they pop up again!
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What a man
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I can tell it's him from just one note.
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Toooo ��
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Was at that last Alpine Valley show with my younger brother. Final song was Sweet Home Chicago, but before that was the song Goin' Down. So sad. Never forget how tight the band was and how Stevie never missed a note. RIP
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gemeterio62
YES
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markmccord71 8 0 1
Stevie Ray was the best guitarist ever! So sad that I never was able to see him live. RIP Stevie
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Moved to TX in '81, and started diggin Stevie Ray, but never got your see him. :(
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