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Encyclopedia > Stevie Ray Vaughn

Stevie Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954August 27, 1990) was an American blues guitar legend, known as one of the most influential electric blues musicians in history. His playing style is often compared to that of Jimi Hendrix, though such comparisons often inspire sharp debate among music fans.

Vaughan memorial in Austin, Texas

After playing in a series of bands, Dallas-native Vaughan formed the blues-rock combo Double Trouble with drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon in the late 1970s. A popular local draw, Vaughan soon attracted attention from David Bowie and Jackson Browne, and he played on albums with both. Bowie first caught Vaughan at the Montreux Jazz Festival where he was initially booed by many who disliked his hard blues sound. Vaughan is most notably featured on Bowie's album Let's Dance, in the songs "Let's Dance" and "China Girl."

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble's debut album was released in 1983; the critically acclaimed Texas Flood (produced by John Hammond) featured the top-20 hit "Pride and Joy" and sold well in both blues and rock circles. The debut was followed by equally successful followups Couldn't Stand the Weather (1984) and Soul to Soul (1985).

Drug addiction and alcoholism took a toll on Vaughan, and in the mid 1980s, he collapsed, while on tour in 1986. He checked into rehab in Georgia later that year.

Following his return, Vaughan recorded In Step (1989), another critically acclaimed disc that won a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Blues Record.

Vaughan's comeback was cut tragically short when, in the early morning of August 27, 1990, he was killed when a helicopter he was riding in crashed near Troy, Wisconsin following a concert at the Alpine Valley music theater where he had appeared earlier in the evening with Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton.

A duet album, Family Style, with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan (also a noted blues-rock guitarist and former member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds) was released in September 1990 after Stevie's death and was a popular hit. 1991's The Sky is Crying was the first of several posthumous Vaughan releases with chart success. Jimmie Vaughan would later co-write and record a song in tribute to his brother and other late blues guitarists, entitled "Six Strings Down".

Stevie Ray Vaughan is interred in the Laurel Land Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

In 1991, Texas governor Ann Richards proclaimed October 3, Vaughan's birthday, to be "Stevie Ray Vaughan Day."

In 1992, Fender released the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster, designed along with Stevie before his death. As of 2004, this model is still in production.

In 1994, the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Statue was erected at Auditorium Shores on Town Lake in Austin, Texas.

In 2004, Fender releases the Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute Model "Number One" Stratocaster Guitar (http://www.fender.com/misc/winternamm2004/srv_tribute/index.html). A direct replica of Stevie Ray Vaughan's primary guitar.


  1. Texas Flood (1983)
  2. Couldn't Stand the Weather (1984)
  3. Soul to Soul (1985)
  4. Live Alive! (1986)
  5. In Step (1989)
  6. The Sky Is Crying (1991)
  7. In The Beginning (1992)
  8. Greatest Hits (1995)

External links

  • A Bluesman's Lingering Notes (http://home.nyc.rr.com/alweisel/washingtonpostvaughan.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
LegacyRecordings.com: Stevie Ray Vaughan (942 words)
For the next seven years, Stevie Ray was the leading light in American blues consistently selling out concerts while his albums regularly went gold.
Stevie Ray laid down the lead guitar tracks for what became Bowie s Let's Dance album in late 1982.
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.
Stevie Ray Vaughn (1492 words)
Stevie is left at home with worried parents who severely restrict his musical activities, leaving him bored and unhappy.
Lenora (Lenny) Bailey and Stevie Ray Vaughan are married between sets at the Rome Inn in Austin on December 20.
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble are signed to Epic Records by legendary A&R man John Hammond.
  More results at FactBites »



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