On August 27, 1990 : Stevie Ray Vaughan dies at
the age of 35.
Real Audio 110K.
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.