Stevie Ray Vaughan

On August 27, 1990 : Stevie Ray Vaughan dies at the age of 35.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the leading blues and rock guitarists of his generation came from obscurity to enjoy a meteoric success in the early 1980s. He was a technical virtuoso who played with lightning speed and was a master of the explosive sound effects that had been pioneered by Jimi Hendrix. Essentially a blues traditionalist, he played solos in a style that was characterized by one critic as "a smooth, long-lined summation of Texas blues, ornately filigreed phrase after phrase."

Stevie Ray Vaughan who was born in Dallas, was the youngest brother of Jimmy Vaughan, of the successful rock band The Fabulous Thunderbirds. It was though listening to his older brother's collection of guitar records by B. B. King, Lonnie Mack, Albert Collins and others, that Stevie Ray began picking up the instrument. He dropped out of high school in his senior year to move to Austin Texas where he formed a blues group, the Cobras, in 1975. Two years later he put together a revue, Triple Threat, which remained together until 1981, when he decided to form a harder-driving rock oriented band. The new group, Double Trouble, which included Tommy Shannon on bass and Chris Layton on drums, was a powerful trio in the mold of ZZ Top.

The unknown group, thanks to word of mouth, soon performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The concert attacked the attention of David Bowie who later asked Stevie Ray to play lead guitar on Bowie's next album, "let's Dance." After playing as a sideman with the Rolling Stones and Jackson Browne, he finally recorded his first solo album in 1983 called "Texas Flood." The record and Stevie Ray Vaughan were a success, the album sold 500,000 copies and won two Grammy nominations. The following year the band won it's first Grammy Award for best traditional blues recording in 1984 for "Blues Explosion."

By 1986, Stevie Ray Vaughan was a sought after master of the blues guitar - but the years of hard work were only starting to pay off with world-wide audiences when he was killed with four others in a helicopter crash near East Troy, Wisconsin on August 27, 1990. Stevie Ray Vaughan was only 35 years old. As he once said in a radio interview, "I was taught to think the next week or month or year will only get better than it is today. So I just keep waiting to see hoe great it will get!" He left us a body of great work indeed, but at only 35, we can only imagine just what Stevie Ray could have giving the world of music if he only lived a while longer.