Stevie Ray Vaughan

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Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1989.jpg
Vaughan performing on the television show Austin City Limits in 1989
Stephen Ray Vaughan

(1954-10-03)October 3, 1954
DiedAugust 27, 1990(1990-08-27) (aged 35)
Cause of death Helicopter crash
Resting placeLaurel Land Memorial Park
Dallas, Texas
32°40.417′N96°48.771′W / 32.673617°N 96.812850°W / 32.673617; -96.812850
Other namesStevie Vaughan
OccupationMusician, singer, songwriter, record producer
  • Lenora Bailey
    (m. 1979;div. 1988)
Partner(s)Janna Lapidus (1986-1990)
Lindi Bethel (1973-1979)
Parent(s)James Lee Vaughan (b. 1921), Martha Jean Cook (b. 1928)
Relatives Jimmie Vaughan (brother)
Awards List of awards and nominations
Musical career
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active1965–1990
Associated acts
Stevie Ray Vaughan signature.svg

Stephen Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in the 1980s. He is commonly referred to as one of the greatest guitar players of all time.

Blues rock is a fusion genre combining elements of blues and rock. It is mostly an electric ensemble-style music with instrumentation similar to electric blues and rock: electric guitar, electric bass guitar, and drums, sometimes with keyboards and harmonica. From its beginnings in the early- to mid-1960s, blues rock has gone through several stylistic shifts and along the way it inspired and influenced hard rock, Southern rock, and early heavy metal. Blues rock continues to be an influence in the 2010s, with performances and recordings by popular artists.


Vaughan was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He began playing guitar at the age of seven, inspired by his older brother Jimmie. He dropped out of high school in 1971 and moved to Austin the following year. He played gigs with numerous bands, earning a spot in Marc Benno's band the Nightcrawlers and later with Denny Freeman in the Cobras, with whom he continued to work through late 1977. He then formed his own group Triple Threat Revue, but he renamed them Double Trouble after hiring drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon. He gained fame after his performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982, and his debut studio album Texas Flood charted at number 38 in 1983, a commercially successful release that sold over half a million copies. Vaughan headlined concert tours with Jeff Beck in 1989 and Joe Cocker in 1990. He died in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990, at the age of 35.

Dallas City in Texas, United States

Dallas is a city in the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Dallas County, with portions extending into Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. With an estimated 2018 population of 1,345,047, it is the ninth most-populous city in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. Located in North Texas, the city of Dallas is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States and the largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S. that lacks any navigable link to the sea. It is the most populous city in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country at 7.5 million people as of 2018. The city's combined statistical area is the seventh-largest in the U.S. as of 2017, with 7,846,293 residents.

Jimmie Vaughan American blues rock guitarist and singer

Jimmie Lawrence Vaughan is an American blues rock guitarist and singer based in Austin, Texas. He is the older brother of the late Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Austin, Texas Capital of Texas

Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States, the fourth-most-populous city in Texas, and the second-most-populous state capital city. It is also the fastest growing large city in the United States and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2018 estimate, Austin had a population of 964,254 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,168,316 as of July 1, 2018. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.

Vaughan received several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1983, readers of Guitar Player voted him Best New Talent and Best Electric Blues Guitar Player. In 1984, the Blues Foundation named him Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year, and in 1987, Performance Magazine honored him with Rhythm and Blues Act of the Year. He won six Grammy Awards and ten Austin Music Awards and was inducted posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014. Rolling Stone ranked him as the 12th greatest guitarist of all time. [1] In 2015, Vaughan and Double Trouble were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [2] [3]

<i>Guitar Player</i> magazine

Guitar Player is an American popular magazine for guitarists, founded in 1967 in San Jose, California, United States. It contains articles, interviews, reviews and lessons of an eclectic collection of artists, genres and products. It has been in print since late 1967. The magazine is currently edited by Christopher Scapelliti.

The Blues Foundation is an American nonprofit corporation, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, that is affiliated with more than 175 blues organizations from various parts of the world. Founded in 1980, a twenty-five person Board of Directors governs the foundation whose stated mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of the uniquely American art form.

Grammy Award Accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

Family and early life

Stevie's grandfather, Thomas Lee Vaughan, married Laura Belle LaRue and moved to Rockwall County, Texas, where they lived by sharecropping. [4] [nb 1] Stevie's father, Jimmie Lee Vaughan, was born on September 6, 1921. [6]

Rockwall County, Texas U.S. county in Texas

Rockwall County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. At 149 square miles, Rockwall County has the smallest area of any Texas county. As of the 2014 U.S. census estimate, its population was 87,809. Its county seat is Rockwall. The county and city are named for a wall-like subterranean rock formation that runs throughout the county.

Sharecropping form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land

Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range of different situations and types of agreements that have used a form of the system. Some are governed by tradition, and others by law. Legal contract systems such as the Italian mezzadria, the French métayage, the Spanish mediero, the Slavic połowcy,издoльщина or the Islamic system of muqasat, occur widely.

Jimmie, also known as Jim and Big Jim, dropped out of school at age sixteen, and enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he married Martha Cook on January 13, 1950. [7] They had a son, Jimmie, in 1951. Stephen was born on October 3, 1954, in Dallas, Texas. Big Jim secured a job as an asbestos worker, an occupation that involved rigorous manual effort. The family moved frequently, living in other states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma before ultimately moving to the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. A shy and insecure boy, Vaughan was deeply affected by his childhood experiences. His father struggled with alcohol abuse, and often terrorised his family and friends with his bad temper. In later years, Vaughan recalled that he had been a victim of his father's violence. [8] His father died on August 27, 1986, exactly four years before Vaughan. [9]

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Asbestos Group of highly stable, non-flammable silicate minerals with a fibrous structure

Asbestos is a term used to refer to six naturally occurring silicate minerals. All are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each fiber being composed of many microscopic 'fibrils' that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes. Asbestos is a well known health hazard, and use of it as a building material is now banned in many countries. Inhalation of the fibres can lead to various lung conditions, including asbestosis and cancer.

Oak Cliff district in Dallas, Texas, USA

Oak Cliff is a neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, that was formerly a separate town in Dallas County; Dallas annexed Oak Cliff in 1901. It has since retained a distinct neighborhood identity as one of Dallas' older established neighborhoods.

First instruments

In the early 1960s, Vaughan's admiration for his brother Jimmie resulted in him trying different instruments such as the drums and saxophone. [10] [nb 2] In 1961, for his seventh birthday, Vaughan received his first guitar, a toy from Sears with Western motif. [12] [nb 3] Learning by ear, he diligently committed himself, following along to songs by the Nightcaps, particularly "Wine, Wine, Wine" and "Thunderbird". [14] [nb 4] He listened to blues artists such as Albert King, Otis Rush, and Muddy Waters, and rock guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack, as well as jazz guitarists including Kenny Burrell. [16] In 1963, he acquired his first electric guitar, a Gibson ES-125T, as a hand-me-down from Jimmie. [17]

Sears, Roebuck and Company, colloquially known as Sears, is a chain of department stores founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1893, reincorporated by Richard Sears and new partner Julius Rosenwald in 1906. Formerly based at the Sears Tower in Chicago and currently headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, the operation began as a mail ordering catalog company and began opening retail locations in 1925. The first location was in Chicago, Illinois. In 2005, the company was bought by the management of the American big box chain Kmart, which formed Sears Holdings upon completion of the merger.

Albert King American blues guitarist and singer

Albert Nelson, known by his stage name Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer whose playing influenced many other blues guitarists. He is perhaps best known for the popular and influential album Born Under a Bad Sign (1967) and its title track. He is one of the three performers known as the "Kings of the Blues."

Otis Rush American blues guitarist

Otis Rush Jr. was an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. His distinctive guitar style featured a slow-burning sound and long bent notes. With qualities similar to the styles of other 1950s artists Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound became known as West Side Chicago blues and was an influence on many musicians, including Michael Bloomfield, Peter Green and Eric Clapton.

Soon after he acquired the electric guitar, Vaughan joined his first band, the Chantones, in 1965. [18] Their first gig was at a talent contest held in Dallas' Hill Theatre, but after realizing that they could not perform a Jimmy Reed song in its entirety, Vaughan left the band and joined the Brooklyn Underground, playing professionally at local bars and clubs. [18] He received Jimmie's Fender Broadcaster, which he later traded for an Epiphone Riviera. [19] When Jimmie left home at age sixteen, Vaughan's apparent obsession with the instrument caused a lack of support from his parents. [20] Miserable at home, he took a job at a local hamburger stand, where he washed dishes and dumped trash for seventy cents an hour. After falling into a barrel of grease, he grew tired of the job and quit to devote his life to a music career. [21]

Music career

Early years

In May 1969, after leaving the Brooklyn Underground, Vaughan joined a band called the Southern Distributor. [22] He had learned The Yardbirds' "Jeff's Boogie" and played the song at the audition. Mike Steinbach, the group's drummer, commented: "The kid was fourteen. We auditioned him on 'Jeff's Boogie,' really fast instrumental guitar, and he played it note for note." [23] Although they played pop rock covers, Vaughan conveyed his interest in the addition of blues songs to the group's repertoire; he was told that he wouldn't earn a living playing blues music and the band parted ways. [24] Later that year, bassist Tommy Shannon walked into a Dallas club and heard Vaughan playing guitar. Fascinated by the skillful playing, which he described as "incredible even then", Shannon borrowed a bass guitar and the two jammed. [25] [nb 5] Within a few years, they began performing together in a band called Krackerjack. [26]

In February 1970, Vaughan joined a band called Liberation, which was a nine-piece group with a horn section. Having spent the past month briefly playing bass with Jimmie in Texas Storm, he had originally auditioned as bassist. Impressed by Vaughan's guitar playing, Scott Phares, the group's original guitarist, modestly became the bassist. [27] In mid-1970, they performed at the Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas, where ZZ Top asked them to perform. During Liberation's break, Vaughan jammed with ZZ Top on the Nightcaps song "Thunderbird". Phares later described the performance: "they tore the house down. It was awesome. It was one of those magical evenings. Stevie fit in like a glove on a hand." [28]

Attending Justin F. Kimball High School during the early 1970s, Vaughan's late-night gigs contributed to his neglect in his studies, including music theory; he would often sleep during class. [29] His musical career pursuit was disapproved by many of the school's administrators but he was also encouraged by many people, including his art teacher, to strive for a career in art. [30] [nb 6] In his sophomore year, he attended an evening class for experimental art at Southern Methodist University, but left when it conflicted with rehearsal. [30] Vaughan later spoke of his dislike of the school and stated he had to receive a daily note from the principal about his grooming. [31]

First recordings

In September 1970, Vaughan made his first studio recordings with the band Cast of Thousands, which included future actor Stephen Tobolowsky. They recorded two songs, "Red, White and Blue" and "I Heard a Voice Last Night", for a compilation album, A New Hi, that featured various teenage bands from Dallas. [32] In late January 1971, feeling confined by playing pop hits with Liberation, Vaughan formed his own band, Blackbird. After growing tired of the Dallas music scene, he dropped out of school and moved with the band to Austin, Texas, which had more liberal and tolerant audiences. There, Vaughan initially took residence at the Rolling Hills Country Club, a venue that would later become the Soap Creek Saloon. Blackbird played at several clubs in Austin and opened shows for bands such as Sugarloaf, Wishbone Ash, and Zephyr, but could not maintain a consistent lineup. [33] In early December 1972, Vaughan left Blackbird and joined a rock band named Krackerjack; he performed with them for less than three months. [34]

In March 1973, Vaughan joined Marc Benno's band, the Nightcrawlers, after meeting Benno at a jam session years before. [35] The band featured vocalist Doyle Bramhall, who met Vaughan when he was twelve years old. [36] The next month, the Nightcrawlers recorded an album at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood for A&M Records. While the album was rejected by A&M, it included Vaughan's first songwriting efforts, "Dirty Pool" and "Crawlin'". [37] Soon afterward, he and the Nightcrawlers traveled back to Austin without Benno. [38] In mid-1973, they signed a contract with Bill Ham, manager for ZZ Top, and played various gigs across the South, though many of them were disastrous. [39] Ham left the band stranded in Mississippi without any way to make it back home and demanded reimbursement from Vaughan for equipment expenses; Ham was never reimbursed. [40] [nb 7]

In 1975, Vaughan joined a six-piece band called Paul Ray and the Cobras which included guitarist Val Swierczewski and saxophonist Joe Sublett. [41] For the next two-and-a-half years, he earned a living performing weekly at a popular venue in town, the Soap Creek Saloon, and ultimately the newly opened Antone's, widely known as Austin's "home of the blues". [42] [nb 8] In late 1976, Vaughan recorded a single with them, "Other Days" as the A-side and "Texas Clover" as the B-side. Playing guitar on both tracks, the single was released on February 7, 1977. [44] In March, readers of the Austin Sun voted them as Band of the Year. [45] In addition to playing with the Cobras, Vaughan jammed with many of his influences at Antone's, including Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Albert King. [46]

Vaughan toured with the Cobras during much of 1977, but near the end of September, after they decided to strive for a mainstream musical direction, he left the band and formed Triple Threat Revue, which included singer Lou Ann Barton, bassist W. C. Clark, and drummer Fredde Pharaoh. [47] In January 1978, they recorded four songs in Austin, including Vaughan's composition "I'm Cryin'". The thirty-minute audio recording marks the only known studio recording of the band. [48]

Double Trouble

Double Trouble in 1983. From left to right: Chris Layton, Vaughan and Tommy Shannon. Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble Don Hunstein.jpg
Double Trouble in 1983. From left to right: Chris Layton, Vaughan and Tommy Shannon.

In mid-May 1978, Clark left to form his own group and Vaughan renamed the band Double Trouble, taken from the title of an Otis Rush song. [49] Following the recruitment of bassist Jackie Newhouse, Pharaoh quit in July, and was briefly replaced by Jack Moore, who had moved to Texas from Boston; he performed with the band for about two months. [50] Vaughan then began looking for a drummer and soon after, he met Chris Layton through Sublett, who was his roommate. Layton, who had recently parted ways with Greezy Wheels, was taught by Vaughan to play a shuffle rhythm. When Vaughan offered Layton the position, he agreed. [51] In early July, Vaughan befriended Lenora Bailey, known as "Lenny", who became his girlfriend, and ultimately his wife. The marriage was to last for six and a half years. [52] [nb 9]

In early October 1978, Vaughan and Double Trouble earned a frequent residency performing at one of Austin's most popular nightspots, the Rome Inn. [54] During a performance, Edi Johnson, an accountant at Manor Downs, noticed Vaughan. [54] She remembered: "I'm not an authority on music- it's whatever turned me on - but this did." [55] She recommended him to Manor Downs owner Frances Carr and general manager Chesley Millikin, who was interested in managing artists, and saw Vaughan's musical potential. After Barton quit Double Trouble in mid-November 1979, Millikin signed Vaughan to a management contract. [56] Vaughan also hired Robert "Cutter" Brandenburg as road manager, whom he had met in 1969. [57] Addressing him as "Stevie Ray", Brandenburg convinced Vaughan to use his middle name on stage. [58]

In October 1980, bassist Tommy Shannon attended a Double Trouble performance at Rockefeller's in Houston. Shannon, who was playing with Alan Haynes at the time, participated in a jam session with Vaughan and Layton halfway through their set. Shannon later commented: "I went down there that night, and I'll never forget this: it was like, when I walked in the door and I heard them playing, it was like a revelation. 'That's where I want to be; that's where I belong, right there.' During the break, I went up to Stevie and told him that. I didn't try to sneak around and hide it from the bass player [Jackie Newhouse] - I didn't know if he was listening or not. I just really wanted to be in that band. I sat in that night and it sounded great." [59] Almost three months later, when Vaughan offered Shannon the position, he readily accepted. [60]

Drug charge and trial

On December 5, 1979, while Vaughan was in a dressing room before a performance in Houston, an off-duty police officer arrested him after witnessing his usage of cocaine near an open window. [61] He was formally charged with cocaine possession and subsequently released on $1,000 bail. [62] Double Trouble was the opening act for Muddy Waters, who said about Vaughan's substance abuse: "Stevie could perhaps be the greatest guitar player that ever lived, but he won't live to get 40 years old if he doesn't leave that white powder alone." [63] The following year, he was required to return on January 16 and February 29 for court appearances. [64]

During the final court date, on April 17, 1980, Vaughan was sentenced with two years probation and was prohibited from leaving Texas. [65] Along with a stipulation of entering treatment for drug abuse, he was required to "avoid persons or places of known disreputable or harmful character"; he refused to comply with both of these orders. [66] After a lawyer was hired, his probation officer had the sentence revised to allow him to work outside of the state. [65] The incident later caused him to refuse maid service while staying in hotels during concert tours. [67]

Montreux Jazz Festival

Although popular in Texas at the time, Double Trouble failed to gain national attention. The group's luck progressed when record producer Jerry Wexler recommended them to Claude Nobs, organizer of the Montreux Jazz Festival. He insisted the festival's blues night would be great with Vaughan, whom he called "a jewel, one of those rarities who comes along once in a lifetime", and Nobs agreed to book Double Trouble on July 17. [68]

Vaughan opened with a medley arrangement of Freddie King's song "Hide Away" and his own fast instrumental composition, "Rude Mood". Double Trouble went on to perform renditions of Larry Davis' "Texas Flood", Hound Dog Taylor's "Give Me Back My Wig", and Albert Collins' "Collins Shuffle", as well as three original compositions: "Pride and Joy", "Love Struck Baby", and "Dirty Pool". The set ended with boos from the audience. [69] People 's James McBride wrote:

He seemed to come out of nowhere, a Zorro-type figure in a riverboat gambler's hat, roaring into the '82 Montreux festival with a '59 Stratocaster at his hip and two flame-throwing sidekicks he called Double Trouble. He had no album, no record contract, no name, but he reduced the stage to a pile of smoking cinders and, afterward, everyone wanted to know who he was." [70] [nb 10]

According to road manager Don Opperman: "the way I remember it, the 'ooos' and the 'boos' were mixed together, but Stevie was pretty disappointed. Stevie [had] just handed me his guitar and walked off stage, and I'm like, 'are you coming back?' There was a doorway back there; the audience couldn't see the guys, but I could. He went back to the dressing room with his head in his hands. I went back there finally, and that was the end of the show." [69] According to Vaughan: "it wasn't the whole crowd [that booed]. It was just a few people sitting right up front. The room there was built for acoustic jazz. When five or six people boo, wow, it sounds like the whole world hates you. They thought we were too loud, but shoot, I had four army blankets folded over my amp, and the volume level was on 2. I'm used to playin' on 10!" [73] The performance was filmed and later released on DVD in September 2004.

On the following night, Double Trouble was booked in the lounge of the Montreux Casino, with Jackson Browne in attendance. Browne jammed with Double Trouble until the early morning hours and offered them free use of his personal recording studio in downtown Los Angeles. In late November the band accepted his offer and recorded ten songs in two days. [74] While they were in the studio, Vaughan received a telephone call from David Bowie, who met him after the Montreux performance, and he invited him to participate in a recording session for his next studio album, Let's Dance . [75] In January 1983, Vaughan recorded guitar on six of the album's eight songs, including the title track and "China Girl". [76] The album was released on April 14, 1983 and sold over three times as many copies as Bowie's previous album. [77]

National success

In mid-March 1983, Gregg Geller, vice president of A&R at Epic Records, signed Double Trouble to the label at the recommendation of record producer John Hammond. [78] Soon afterward, Epic financed a music video for "Love Struck Baby", which was filmed at the Cherry Tavern in New York City. Vaughan recalled: "we changed the name of the place in the video. Four years ago I got married in a club where we used to play all the time called the Rome Inn. When they closed it down, the owner gave me the sign, so in the video we put that up behind me on the stage." [79]

With the success of Let's Dance, Bowie requested Vaughan as the featured instrumentalist for the upcoming Serious Moonlight Tour, realizing that he was an essential aspect of the album's groundbreaking success. [80] In late April, Vaughan began rehearsals for the tour in Las Colinas, Texas. [81] When contract renegotiations for his performance fee failed, Vaughan abandoned the tour days before its opening date, and he was replaced by Earl Slick. [82] Vaughan commented: "I couldn't gear everything on something I didn't really care a whole lot about. It was kind of risky, but I really didn't need all the headaches." [83] Although contributing factors were widely disputed, Vaughan soon gained major publicity for quitting the tour. [84]

On May 9, the band performed at The Bottom Line in New York City, where they opened for Bryan Adams, with Hammond, Mick Jagger, John McEnroe, Rick Nielsen, Billy Gibbons, and Johnny Winter in attendance. [85] Brandenburg described the performance as "ungodly": "I think Stevie played every lick as loud and as hard and with as much intensity as I've ever heard him." [86] The performance earned Vaughan a positive review published in the New York Post , asserting that Double Trouble outperformed Adams. [87] "Fortunately, Bryan Adams, the Canadian rocker who is opening arena dates for Journey, doesn't headline too often", wrote Martin Porter, who claimed that after the band's performance, the stage had been "rendered to cinders by the most explosively original showmanship to grace the New York stage in some time." [86]

Texas Flood

After acquiring the recordings from Browne's studio, Double Trouble began assembling the material for a full-length LP. The album, Texas Flood , opens with the track "Love Struck Baby", which was written for Lenny on their "love-struck day". [52] He composed "Pride and Joy" and "I'm Cryin'" for one of his former girlfriends, Lindi Bethel, and are both musically similar, but their lyrics are two different perspectives of their prior relationship. [88] Along with covers of Howlin' Wolf, The Isley Brothers, and Buddy Guy, the album included Vaughan's cover of Larry Davis' "Texas Flood", a song which he became strongly associated with. [89] "Lenny" served as a tribute to his wife, which he composed at the end of their bed. [90]

Texas Flood featured cover art by illustrator Brad Holland, who is known for his artwork for Playboy and The New York Times . [91] Originally envisioned with Vaughan sitting on a horse depicting a promotable resemblance, Holland painted an image of him leaning against a wall with a guitar, using a photograph as a reference. [92] Released on June 13, 1983, Texas Flood peaked at number 38 and ultimately sold half a million copies. [91] While Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder asserted that Vaughan did not possess a distinctive voice, according to AllMusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the release was a "monumental impact". [93] Billboard described it as "a guitar boogie lovers delight". [94] Agent Alex Hodges commented: "No one knew how big that record would be, because guitar players weren't necessarily in vogue, except for some that were so established they were undeniable ... he was one of the few artists that was recouped on every record in a short period of time." [95]

On June 16, Vaughan gave a performance at Tango nightclub in Dallas, which celebrated the album's release. Assorted VIPs attended the performance, including Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar, and members of The Kinks and Uriah Heep. [96] Jack Chase, vice president of marketing for Epic, recalled: "the coming-out party at Tango was very important; it was absolutely huge. All the radio station personalities, DJs, program directors, all the retail record store owners and the important managers, press, all the executives from New York came down- about seven hundred people. We attacked in Dallas first with Q102-FM and [DJ] Redbeard. We had the Tango party—it was hot. It was the ticket." [96] The Dallas Morning News reviewed the performance, starting with the rhetorical question; "what if Stevie Ray Vaughan had an album release party and everybody came? It happened Thursday night at Tango. ... The adrenalin must have been gushing through the musicians' veins as they performed with rare finesse and skill." [96]

Following a brief tour in Europe, Hodges arranged an engagement for Double Trouble as The Moody Blues' opening act during a two-month tour of North America. [nb 11] Hodges stated that many people disliked the idea of Double Trouble opening for The Moody Blues, but asserted that a common thread which both bands shared was "album-oriented rock". [97] Shannon described the tour as "glorious": "Our record hadn't become that successful yet, but we were playing in front of coliseums full of people. We just went out and played, and it fit like a glove. The sound rang through those big coliseums like a monster. People were going crazy, and they had no idea who we were!" [97] After appearing on the television series Austin City Limits , the band played a sold-out concert at New York City's Beacon Theatre. Variety wrote that their ninety-minute set at the Beacon "left no doubt that this young Texas musician is indeed the 'guitar hero of the present era.'" [98]

Couldn't Stand the Weather

In January 1984, Double Trouble began recording their second studio album, Couldn't Stand the Weather , at the Power Station, with John Hammond as executive producer and engineer Richard Mullen. [99] Layton later recalled working with Hammond: "he was kind of like a nice hand on your shoulder, as opposed to someone that jumped in and said, 'let's redo this, let's do that more.' He didn't get involved in that way at all. He was a feedback person." [99] As the sessions began, Vaughan's cover of Bob Geddins' "Tin Pan Alley" was recorded while audio levels were being checked. Layton remembers the performance: "... we did probably the quietest version we ever did up 'til that point. We ended it and [Hammond] said; 'that's the best that song will ever sound,' and we went; 'we haven't even got sounds, have we?' He goes, 'that doesn't matter. That's the best you'll ever do that song.' We tried it again five, six, seven times- I can't even remember. But it never quite sounded like it did that first time." [100]

During recording sessions, Vaughan began experimenting with other combinations of musicians, including Fran Christina and Stan Harrison, who played drums and saxophone respectively on the jazz instrumental, "Stang's Swang". [101] Jimmie Vaughan played rhythm guitar on his cover of Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do" and the title track, the latter of which Vaughan carries a worldly message in his lyrics. [102] According to musicologist Andy Aledort, Vaughan's guitar playing throughout the song is marked by steady rhythmic strumming patterns and improvised lead lines, with a distinctive R&B and soul single-note riff, doubled in octaves by guitar and bass. [103]

Couldn't Stand the Weather was released on May 15, 1984, and two weeks later it had rapidly outpaced the sales of Texas Flood. [104] [nb 12] It peaked at number 31 and spent 38 weeks on the charts. [102] The album includes Vaughan's cover of Jimi Hendrix's song, "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", which provoked inevitable comparisons to Hendrix. [105] According to Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Couldn't Stand the Weather "confirmed that the acclaimed debut was no fluke, while matching, if not bettering, the sales of its predecessor, thereby cementing Vaughan's status as a giant of modern blues." [106] According to authors Joe Nick Patoski and Bill Crawford, the album "was a major turning point in Stevie Ray Vaughan's development" and Vaughan's singing improved. [101]

Carnegie Hall

On October 4, 1984, Vaughan headlined a performance at Carnegie Hall that included many guest musicians. [107] For the second half of the concert, he added Jimmie as rhythm guitarist, drummer George Rains, keyboardist Dr. John, Roomful of Blues horn section, and featured vocalist Angela Strehli. [108] [nb 13] The ensemble rehearsed for less than two weeks before the performance, and despite the solid dynamics of Double Trouble for the first half of the performance, according to Patoski and Crawford, the big band concept never entirely took form. [110] [nb 14] Before arriving at the engagement, the venue sold out, which made Vaughan extremely excited and nervous as he did not calm down until halfway through the third song. [114] A benefit for the T.J. Martell Foundation's work in leukemia and cancer research, he was an important draw for the event. [115] As his scheduled time slot drew closer, he indicated that he preferred traveling to the venue by limousine to avoid being swarmed by fans on the street; the band took the stage around 8:00 p.m. [116] The audience of 2,200 people, which included Vaughan's wife, family and friends, transformed the venue into what Stephen Holden of The New York Times described as "a whistling, stomping roadhouse". [117]

Introduced by Hammond as "one of the greatest guitar players of all time", Vaughan opened with "Scuttle Buttin'", wearing a custom-made mariachi suit he described as a "Mexican tuxedo". [118] [nb 15] Double Trouble went on to perform renditions of The Isley Brothers' "Testify", The Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", "Tin Pan Alley", Elmore James' "The Sky Is Crying", and W. C. Clark's "Cold Shot", along with four original compositions including "Love Struck Baby", "Honey Bee", "Couldn't Stand the Weather", and "Rude Mood". During the second half of the performance, Vaughan performed covers by Larry Davis, Buddy Guy, Guitar Slim, Albert King, Jackie Wilson, and Albert Collins. The set ended with Vaughan performing solo renditions of "Lenny" and "Rude Mood". [120]

The Dallas Times-Herald wrote of the performance at Carnegie Hall as; "was full of stomping feet and swaying bodies, kids in blue jeans hanging off the balconies, dancing bodies that clogged the aisles." [121] [nb 16] The New York Times asserted that, despite the venue's "muddy" acoustics, their performance was "filled with verve", and Vaughan's playing was "handsomely displayed". [117] Jimmie Vaughan later commented: "I was worried the crowd might be a little stiff. Turned out they're just like any other beer joint." [114] Vaughan commented: "We won't be limited to just the trio, although that doesn't mean we'll stop doing the trio. I'm planning on doing that too. I ain't gonna stay in one place. If I do, I'm stupid." [114] The performance was recorded and later released as an official live LP. The album was released on July 29, 1997 by Epic Records; it was ultimately certified gold. [122]

Immediately after the concert, Vaughan attended a private party at a downtown club in New York, which was sponsored by MTV, where he was greeted by an hour's worth of supporters. [123] On the following day, Double Trouble made an appearance at a record store in Greenwich Village, where they signed autographs for fans. [124] [nb 17] In late October 1984, the band toured Australia and New Zealand, which included one of their first appearances on Australian television—on Hey Hey It's Saturday —where they performed "Texas Flood", and an interview on Sounds . [125] On November 5 and 9, they played sold-out concerts at the Sydney Opera House. [126] Upon returning to the US, Double Trouble went on a brief tour in California. Soon afterward, Vaughan and Lenny went to the island of Saint Croix, on the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, where they had spent some time vacationing in December. [127] The next month, Double Trouble flew to Japan, where they appeared for five performances, including at Kosei Nenkin Kaikan in Osaka. [128]

Soul to Soul

In March 1985, recording for Double Trouble's third studio album, Soul to Soul , began at the Dallas Sound Lab. [129] As the sessions progressed, Vaughan became increasingly frustrated with his own lack of inspiration. [130] He was also allowed a relaxed pace of recording the album, which contributed to a lack of focus due to excesses in alcohol and other drugs. [131] Roadie Byron Barr later recalled: "the routine was to go to the studio, do dope, and play ping-pong." [132] Vaughan, who found it increasingly difficult to be able to play rhythm guitar parts and sing at the same time, wanted to add another dimension to the band, so he hired keyboardist Reese Wynans to record on the album; he joined the band soon thereafter. [133]

During the album's production, Vaughan appeared at the Houston Astrodome on April 10, 1985, where he performed a slide guitar rendition of the US national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner"; his performance was met with booing. [134] Upon leaving the stage, Vaughan acquired an autograph from former player for the New York Yankees, Mickey Mantle. [135] Astrodome publicist Molly Glentzer wrote in the Houston Press : "as Vaughan shuffled back behind home plate, he was only lucid enough to know that he wanted Mickey Mantle's autograph. Mantle obliged. 'I never signed a guitar before.' Nobody asked Vaughan for his autograph. I was sure he'd be dead before he hit 30." [134] Critics associated his performance with Jimi Hendrix's rendition at Woodstock in 1969, yet Vaughan disliked this comparison: "I heard they even wrote about it in one of the music magazines and they tried to put the two versions side by side. I hate that stuff. His version was great." [136]

Released on September 30, 1985, Soul to Soul peaked at number 34 and remained on the Billboard 200 through mid-1986, eventually certified gold. [137] [nb 18] Critic Jimmy Guterman of Rolling Stone wrote: "there's some life left in their blues rock pastiche; it's also possible that they've run out of gas." [139] According to Patoski and Crawford, sales of the album "did not match Couldn't Stand the Weather, suggesting Stevie Ray and Double Trouble were plateauing". [139] Vaughan commented: "as far as what's on there song-wise, I like the album a lot. It meant a lot to us what we went through to get this record. There were a lot of odds and we still stayed strong. We grew a lot with the people in the band and immediate friends around us; we learned a lot and grew a lot closer. That has a lot to do with why it's called [Soul to Soul]." [140]

Live Alive

After touring for nine and a half months, Epic requested a fourth album from Double Trouble as part of their contractual obligation. [141] In July 1986, Vaughan decided that they would record the LP, Live Alive , during three live appearances in Austin and Dallas. [142] On July 17 and 18, the band performed sold-out concerts at the Austin Opera House, and July 19 at the Dallas Starfest. [143] They used recordings of these concerts to assemble the LP, which was produced by Vaughan. [144] Shannon was backstage before the Austin concert and predicted to new manager Alex Hodges that both Vaughan and himself were "headed for a brick wall". [145] Guitarist Denny Freeman attended the Austin performances; he called the shows a "musical mess, because they would go into these chaotic jams with no control. I didn't know what exactly was going on, but I was concerned." [145] Both Layton and Shannon remarked that their work schedule and drugs were causing the band to lose focus. [146] According to Wynans: "Things were getting illogical and crazy." [145]

The Live Alive album was released on November 17, 1986, and the only official live Double Trouble LP made commercially available during Vaughan's lifetime, though it never appeared on the Billboard 200 chart. [147] Though many critics claimed that most of the album was overdubbed, engineer Gary Olazabal, who mixed the album, asserted that most of the material was recorded poorly. [148] Vaughan later admitted that it was not one of his better efforts; he recalled: "I wasn't in very good shape when we recorded Live Alive. At the time, I didn't realize how bad a shape I was in. There were more fix-it jobs done on the album than I would have liked. Some of the work sounds like [it was] the work of half-dead people. There were some great notes that came out, but I just wasn't in control; nobody was." [149]

Drugs and alcohol

In 1960, when Vaughan was six years old, he began stealing his father's drinks. Drawn in by its effects, he started making his own drinks and this resulted in alcohol dependence. He explained: "that's when I first started stealing daddy's drinks. Or when my parents were gone, I'd find the bottle and make myself one. I thought it was cool...thought the kids down the street would think it was cool. That's where it began, and I had been depending on it ever since." [150] According to the authors Joe Nick Patoski and Bill Crawford: "In the ensuing twenty-five years, he had worked his way through the Physicians' Desk Reference before finding his poisons of preference—alcohol and cocaine." [151]

Stevie and I reached this point where we had to have the drugs and alcohol all the time. If the phone would ring in the morning and wake us up, we couldn't answer the phone before we had some alcohol. [152]

Tommy Shannon

While Vaughan asserted that he first experienced the effects of cocaine when a doctor prescribed him a liquid solution of the stimulant as a nasal spray, according to Patoski and Crawford, the earliest that Vaughan is known to have ingested the drug is in 1975, while performing with the Cobras. [153] Before that, Vaughan had briefly used other drugs such as cannabis, methamphetamine, and Quaaludes, the brand name for methaqualone. [154] After 1975, he regularly drank whiskey and used cocaine, particularly mixing the two substances together. [151] According to Hopkins, by the time of Double Trouble's European tour in September 1986, "his lifestyle of substance abuse had reached a peak, probably better characterized as the bottom of a deep chasm." [155]

At the height of Vaughan's substance abuse, he drank 1 US quart (0.95 L) of whiskey and used one-quarter of an ounce (7 g) of cocaine each day. [156] Personal assistant Tim Duckworth explained: "I would make sure he would eat breakfast instead of waking up drinking every morning, which was probably the worst thing he was doing." [157] According to Vaughan: "it got to the point where if I'd try to say "hi" to somebody, I would just fall apart crying. It was like solid doom." [145]

In September 1986, Double Trouble traveled to Denmark for a one-month tour of Europe. [158] During the late night hours of September 28, Vaughan became ill after a performance in Ludwigshafen, Germany, suffering from near-death dehydration, for which he received medical treatment. [156] The incident resulted in his checking into The London Clinic under the care of Dr. Victor Bloom, who warned him that he was a month away from death. [159] After staying in London for more than a week, he returned to the United States and entered Peachford Hospital in Atlanta, where he spent four weeks in rehabilitation; Shannon checked into rehab in Austin. [160]

Live Alive tour

Vaughan's childhood home in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas SRV's childhood home Dallas, TX 2011.jpg
Vaughan's childhood home in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas

In November 1986, following his departure from rehab, Vaughan moved back into his mother's Glenfield Avenue house in Dallas, which is where he had spent much of his childhood. [161] During this time, Double Trouble began rehearsals for the Live Alive tour. Although Vaughan was nervous about performing after achieving sobriety, he received positive reassurance. [162] Wynans later recalled: "Stevie was real worried about playing after he'd gotten sober...he didn't know if he had anything left to offer. Once we got back out on the road, he was very inspired and motivated." [163] The tour began on November 23 at Towson State University, which was Vaughan's first performance with Double Trouble after rehab. [162] On December 31, 1986, they played a concert at Atlanta's Fox Theatre, which featured encore performances with Lonnie Mack. [164] [nb 19]

As the tour progressed, Vaughan was longing to work on material for his next LP, but in January 1987, he filed for a divorce from Lenny, which restricted him from any projects until the proceedings were finalized. [165] This prevented him from writing and recording songs for almost two years, but Double Trouble wrote the song "Crossfire" with Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth. Layton recalled: "we wrote the music, and they had to write the lyrics. We had just gotten together; Stevie was unable to be there at that time. He was in Dallas doing some things, and we just got together and started writing some songs. That was the first one we wrote." [166] On August 6, 1987, Double Trouble appeared at the Austin Aqua Festival, where they played to one of the largest audiences of their career. [167] According to biographer Craig Hopkins, as many as 20,000 people attended the concert. [167] Following a month-long tour as the opening act for Robert Plant in May 1988, which included a concert at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, the band was booked for a European leg, which included 22 performances, and ended in Oulu, Finland on July 17. This would be Vaughan's last concert appearance in Europe. [168]

In Step

After Vaughan's divorce from Lenora "Lenny" Darlene Bailey became final, recording for Double Trouble's fourth and final studio album, In Step , began at Kiva Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, working with producer Jim Gaines and co-songwriter Doyle Bramhall. [169] Initially, he had doubts about his musical and creative abilities after achieving sobriety, but he gained confidence as the sessions progressed. Shannon later recalled: "In Step was, for him, a big growing experience. In my opinion, it's our best studio album, and I think he felt that way, too." [163] Bramhall, who had also entered rehab, wrote songs with Vaughan about addiction and redemption. [170] According to Vaughan, the album was titled In Step because "I'm finally in step with life, in step with myself, in step with my music." [171] The album's liner notes include the quote; "'thank God the elevator's broken," a reference to the twelve-step program proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). [172]

After the In Step recording sessions moved to Los Angeles, Vaughan added horn players Joe Sublett and Darrell Leonard, who played saxophone and trumpet respectively on both "Crossfire" and "Love Me Darlin'". [173] Shortly before the album's production was complete, Vaughan and Double Trouble appeared at a presidential inaugural party in Washington, D.C. for George H. W. Bush. [174] In Step was released on June 13, 1989, and eight months later, it was certified gold. [175] The album was Vaughan's most commercially successful release and his first one to win a Grammy Award. [176] It peaked at number 33 on the Billboard 200, spending 47 weeks on the chart. [177] In Step included the song, "Crossfire", which was written by Double Trouble, Bill Carter, and Ruth Ellsworth; it became his only number one hit. [163] The album also included one of his first recordings to feature the use of a Fuzz Face on Vaughan's cover of the Howlin' Wolf song, "Love Me Darlin'". [178]

In July 1989, Neil Perry, a writer for Sounds magazine, wrote: "the album closes with the brow-soothing swoon of 'Riviera Paradise,' a slow, lengthy guitar and piano workout that proves just why Vaughan is to the guitar what Nureyev is to ballet." [179] According to music journalist Robert Christgau, Vaughan was "writing blues for AA...he escapes the blues undamaged for the first time in his career." [180] In October 1989, the Boca Raton News described Vaughan's guitar solos as "determined, clear-headed and downright stinging" and his lyrics as "tension-filled allegories". [181]


On Monday, August 27, 1990, at 12:50 a.m. (CDT), Vaughan and members of Eric Clapton's touring entourage played an all-star encore jam session at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Alpine Valley Resort in East Troy, Wisconsin. Afterwards they took off for Midway International Airport in Chicago in a Bell 206B helicopter, the most common way for acts to enter and exit the venue as there is only one road in and out, which is heavily used by fans. The helicopter crashed into a nearby ski hill shortly after takeoff.

Vaughan and the four others on board – pilot Jeff Brown, agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and tour manager Colin Smythe – were all killed. The helicopter was identified as being owned by Chicago-based company Omniflight Helicopters. Initial reports of the crash inaccurately claimed that Clapton had also been killed in the accident.

According to findings from an inquest conducted by the coroner's office in Elkhorn, all five victims were killed instantly.

The subsequent investigation determined the aircraft departed in foggy conditions with visibility reportedly under two miles according to a local forecast. The National Transportation Safety Board report stated: "As the third helicopter was departing, it remained at a lower altitude than the others, and the pilot turned southeasterly toward rising terrain. Subsequently, the helicopter crashed on hilly terrain about three-fifths of a mile from the takeoff point." Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records showed that Brown was qualified to fly by instruments in an airplane, but not in a helicopter. Toxicology tests performed on the victims revealed no traces of drugs or alcohol in their systems.

Vaughan's funeral service was held on August 31, 1990, at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. His wooden casket quickly became adorned with bouquets of flowers. An estimated 3,000 mourners joined a procession led by a white hearse. Among those at the public ceremony were Jeff Healey, Charlie Sexton, ZZ Top, Colin James, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. Vaughan's grave marker reads: "Thank you... for all the love you passed our way."

Musical style

Vaughan's music was rooted in blues, rock, and jazz. He was influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush, Guitar Slim, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters. According to nightclub owner Clifford Antone, who opened Antone's in 1975, Vaughan jammed with Albert King at Antone's in July 1977 and almost "scared him to death", saying that "it was the best I've ever saw Albert or the best I ever saw Stevie". [182] While Albert King had a substantial influence on Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix was Vaughan's greatest inspiration. Vaughan declared: "I love Hendrix for so many reasons. He was so much more than just a blues guitarist—he played damn well any kind of guitar he wanted. In fact I'm not sure if he even played the guitar—he played music." [183]

He was also influenced by such jazz guitarists as Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and George Benson. [184]

In 1987, Vaughan listed Lonnie Mack first among the guitarists he listened to, both as a youngster and as an adult. [185] Vaughan owed much of his guitar technique to Mack, saying, "I got a lot of my fast stuff from Lonnie" [186] He observed in live performance that Mack was "ahead of his time". [183] Mack recalled his first meeting with Vaughan in 1978:

We was in Texas looking for pickers, and we went out to see the Thunderbirds. Jimmie was saying, 'Man, you gotta hear my little brother. He plays all your [songs].' He was playing a little place called the Rome Inn, and we went over there and checked him out. As it would be, when I walked in the door, he was playing 'Wham!' And I said, 'Dadgum.' He was playing it right. I'd been playing it wrong for a long time and needed to go back and listen to my original record. That was in '78, I believe. [187]

Vaughan acknowledged that Mack taught him to "play guitar from the heart" [188] —especially picking up the use of tremolo picking and vibrato from him.

Vaughan's relationship with another Texas blues legend, Johnny Winter, was a little more complex. Although they met several times, and often played sessions with the same musicians or even performed the same material, as in the case of Boot Hill, Vaughan always refrained from acknowledging Winter in any form. In his biography, "Raisin' Cain", Winter says that he was unnerved after reading Vaughan stating in an interview that he never met or knew Johnny Winter. "We even played together over at Tommy Shannon's house one time." Vaughan settled the issue in 1988 on the occasion of a blues festival in Europe where both he and Winter were on the bill, explaining that he has been misquoted and that "Every musician in Texas knows Johnny and has learned something from him". [189] Asked to compare their playing styles in an interview in 2010, Winter admitted that "mine's a little bit rawer, I think." [190]



Vaughan owned and used a variety of guitars during his career. His guitar of choice, and the instrument that he became most associated with, was the Fender Stratocaster, his favorite being a 1963 body, with a 1962 neck, and pickups dated from 1959. This is why Vaughan usually referred to his Stratocaster as a, "1959 Strat." He explained why he favored this guitar in a 1983 interview: "I like the strength of its sound. Any guitar I play has got to be pretty versatile. It's got a big, strong tone and it'll take anything I do to it." [191] Vaughan also referred to this instrument as his "first wife," or, "Number One." [192] Another favourite guitar, was a slightly later Strat he named 'Lenny' after his wife, Lenora. While at a local pawn shop in 1980, Vaughan had noticed this particular guitar, a 1965 Stratocaster that had been refinished in red, with the original sunburst finish peeking through. It also had a 1910 Mandolin inlay just below the bridge. The pawn shop was asking $300 for it, which was way more than Vaughan had at the time. Lenny saw how badly he wanted this guitar, so she got six of their friends to chip in $50 each, and bought it for him. The guitar was presented to him on his birthday in 1980, and that night, after bringing "Lenny" (the guitar, and wife) home with him, he wrote the song, "Lenny."[ citation needed ] He started using a borrowed Stratocaster during high school and used Stratocasters predominantly in his live performances and recordings, although he did play other guitars, including custom guitars.

One of the custom guitars—nicknamed "Main"—was built by James Hamilton of Hamiltone Guitars in Buffalo, New York. It was a gift from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Gibbons had commissioned Hamilton to build the guitar in 1979. There were some delays, including having to re-do the mother of pearl inlay of Vaughan's name on the fretboard when he changed his stage name from Stevie Vaughan to Stevie Ray Vaughan. The guitar was presented to him by Jim Hamilton on April 29, 1984. Jim Hamilton recalls that Stevie Ray Vaughan was so happy with the guitar that he played it that night at Springfest on the University of Buffalo campus. It remained one of the main guitars he used on stage and in studio. Vaughan made some alterations to the guitar, including replacing the bronze color Gibson knobs with white Fender knobs, as he preferred the ribbing on the Fender knobs. The pickups had to be changed after the guitar was used in the "Couldn't Stand the Weather" video, in which Stevie and "Main" were drenched with water, and the pickups were ruined. The guitar was also used in the "Cold Shot" video.

Jim Hamilton signed Stevie Ray Vaughan reproduction guitar #01 Jim Hamilton custom Stevie Ray Vaughan reproduction.jpg
Jim Hamilton signed Stevie Ray Vaughan reproduction guitar #01
Jim Hamilton signature on rear of headstock Jim Hamilton signature on rear of headstock.jpg
Jim Hamilton signature on rear of headstock

Vaughan bought many Stratocasters and gave some away as gifts. A sunburst Diplomat Strat-style guitar was purchased by Vaughan and given to his girlfriend Janna Lapidus to learn to play on. [193] Vaughan used a custom set of uncommonly heavy strings, gauges .013, .015, .019, .028, .038, .058, and tuned a half-step below standard tuning. [194] He played with so much tension that it was not uncommon for him to separate his fingernail from the quick movement along the strings. The owner of an Austin club recalled Vaughan coming into the office between sets to borrow super glue, which he used to keep fingernail split from widening while he continued to play. The super glue was suggested by Rene Martinez, who was Stevie's guitar technician. Martinez eventually convinced Stevie to change to slightly lighter strings. He preferred a guitar neck with an asymmetrical profile (thicker at the top) which was more comfortable for his thumb-over style of playing. Heavy use of the vibrato bar necessitated frequent replacements; Vaughan often had his roadie, Byron Barr, obtain custom stainless steel bars made by Barr's father. [195] Vaughan was also photographed playing a National Duolian, Epiphone Riviera, Gibson Flying V, as well as several other models. [196] Vaughan used a Gibson Johnny Smith to record "Stang's Swang", and a Guild 12-string acoustic for his performance on MTV Unplugged in January 1990. [193] On June 24, 2004, one of Vaughan's Stratocasters, the aforementioned "Lenny" strat, was sold at an auction to benefit Eric Clapton's Crossroads Centre in Antigua; the instrument was bought by Guitar Center for $623,500. [197]

On the acoustic side, Vaughan played a Guild F-412 12-string guitar.[ citation needed ]

Amplifiers and effects

Vaughan was a catalyst in the revival of vintage amplifiers and effects during the 1980s. His loud volume and use of heavy strings required powerful and robust amplifiers. Vaughan used two black-face Fender Super Reverbs, which were crucial in shaping his clear overdriven sound. He would often blend other amps with the Super Reverbs, including black-face Fender Vibroverbs, [193] and brands such as Dumble, and Marshall, which he used for his clean sound. [198] While his mainstay effects were the Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Vox wah-wah pedal, [199] Vaughan experimented with a range of effects. He used a Fender Vibratone, [193] designed as a Leslie speaker for electric guitars, and provided a warbling chorus effect, which can be heard on the track "Cold Shot". He used a vintage Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face that can be heard on In Step , as well as an Octavia. [199] The Guitar Geek website provides a detailed illustration of Vaughan's 1985 equipment set up based on interviews with his guitar tech and effects builder, Cesar Diaz. [200]


Vaughan throughout his career revived blues rock and paved the way for many other artists. Vaughan's work continues to influence numerous blues, rock and alternative artists, including John Mayer, [201] Kenny Wayne Shepherd, [202] Mike McCready, [203] Albert Cummings, [204] Los Lonely Boys and Chris Duarte, among others. Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described Vaughan as "the leading light in American blues" and developed "a uniquely eclectic and fiery style that sounded like no other guitarist, regardless of genre". [205] In 1983, Variety magazine called Vaughan the "guitar hero of the present era". [206]

In the months that followed his death, Vaughan sold over 5.5 million albums in the United States. [207] On September 25, 1990, Epic released Family Style, an LP the Vaughan brothers cut at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The label released several promotional singles and videos for the collaborative effort. [208] In November 1990, CMV Enterprises released Pride and Joy , a collection of eight Double Trouble music videos. [209] Sony signed a deal with the Vaughan estate to obtain control of his back catalog, as well as permission to release albums with previously unreleased material and new collections of released work. [210] On October 29, 1991, The Sky Is Crying was released as Vaughan's first posthumous album with Double Trouble, and featured studio recordings from 1984–1985. [211] Other compilations, live albums, and films have also been released since his death.

On October 3, 1991, Texas governor Ann Richards proclaimed "Stevie Ray Vaughan Commemoration Day", during which a memorial concert was held at the Texas Theatre. [211] In 1993, a memorial statue of Vaughan was unveiled on Auditorium Shores and is the first public monument of a musician in Austin. [212] In September 1994, a Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Run for Recovery was held in Dallas; the event was a benefit for the Ethel Daniels Foundation, established to help those in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction who cannot afford treatment. [213]

In 1999, the Musicians' Assistance Program (later renamed MusiCares MAP Fund) created the "Stevie Ray Vaughan Award" to honor the memory of Vaughan and to recognize musicians for their devotion to helping other addicts struggling with the recovery process. [214] [215] The recipients include Eric Clapton, David Crosby, Steven Tyler, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Pete Townshend, Chris Cornell, Jerry Cantrell, Mike McCready, among others. [215]

In 2005, Martha Vaughan established the Stevie Ray Vaughan Scholarship, awarded by W.E. Greiner Middle School to students who intend to attend college and pursue the arts as a profession. [216]

Awards and honors

Vaughan won five W. C. Handy Awards [217] and was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000. [218] In 1985, he was named an honorary admiral in the Texas Navy. [219] Vaughan had a single number-one hit on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for the song "Crossfire". [220] His album sales in the US stand at over 15 million units. Family Style , released shortly after his death, won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album and became his best-selling, non-Double Trouble studio album with over a million shipments in the US. [207] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked him seventh among the "100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time". [221] He also became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, but did not appear on a nominations roster until 2014. [222] [223] He was inducted in the RRHOF alongside Double Trouble in 2015. [224] [225] Guitar World Magazine ranked him as no. 8 in its list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists.

In 1994 the city of Austin, Texas erected the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial on the hiking trail beside Lady Bird Lake.

In 2006 B. Elliott Crist wrote SRV,

     He could’ve been a blind       guitarist, never looking at      his hands while they play.            And if he did.            It was to see the hands of Christ,      and stare, as a zealot, with      the rest of us.


See also



  1. Vaughan's great-grandfather, Robert Hodgen LaRue, circa 1900s Robert Hodgen LaRue, Jr..jpg
    Vaughan's great-grandfather, Robert Hodgen LaRue, circa 1900s
    Vaughan's ancestry has been traced back to his great-grandfather, Robert Hodgen LaRue. Robert LaRue had a daughter named Vaughan's paternal grandmother, Laura Belle LaRue, was a sharecropper who moved to Rockwall County from Terrell, Texas after marrying her husband, Thomas Lee Vaughan, on July 13, 1902. She gave birth to nine children, eight of whom survived infancy. On Sundays, Laura would gather her children around her piano in the living room, singing hymns and popular standards. In 1928, Thomas died from Bright's disease and left Laura's family to pick cotton for a living at the beginning of the Great Depression. [5]
  2. According to Vaughan, his first instrument was a drum set fashioned out of shoe boxes and pie pans, using clothes hangers as drum sticks. He also attempted playing saxophone, though Vaughan recalled: "... all I could get were a few squeaks". [11]
  3. This guitar was known as the "Wyatt Earp" model designed by Jefferson Manufacturing, a Philadelphia-based company. Available from 1959 to 1968, it was made out of fiberboard with a black to cream sunburst finish and red screen-printed Western designs. [13]
  4. In the late 1950s, the Nightcaps were widely recognized as one of the first white blues groups from Dallas. Though they never gained national attention, the band became a fixture of the city's music scene. [15]
  5. In 1969, Shannon, who had parted ways with musician Johnny Winter after performing at Woodstock, moved back to Dallas and first met Vaughan at a club called the Fog, which was coincidentally the same place where he had met Winter. [25]
  6. Some of Vaughan's cartoons were published in his high school's newspaper. [30]
  7. According to authors Joe Nick Patoski and Bill Crawford, Bill Ham had invested $11,000 for a U-Haul truck and backline equipment. [25]
  8. Founded and opened by Clifford Antone on July 15, 1975, Antone's was managed by singer Angela Strehli and hired The Fabulous Thunderbirds as the unofficial house band. [43]
  9. Vaughan and Lenny married on December 23, 1979 at the Rome Inn, after he had a dream that Lenny was sitting on Howlin' Wolf's knee. [53]
  10. According to authors Joe Nick Patoski and Bill Crawford, "like the audiences' adverse reaction to Muddy Waters' debut in England in 1958 as recorded by blues scholar Paul Oliver, Stevie's full-volume electric blues experience was 'meat that proved too strong for many stomachs.' The Europeans, accustomed to a quieter, folk blues style, cringed at the sheer volume level emitted by the Texas trio." [71] Biographer Craig Hopkins wrote: "the two nights in Montreux became the single most important gigs in Stevie's career." [72]
  11. Double Trouble received $5,000 in compensation for each show, as well as a $1,000–$2,000 bonus for successful ticket sales. [97]
  12. Three weeks after its release, Couldn't Stand the Weather sold 242,000 copies and was ultimately certified platinum, selling over one million units by the end of the year. [102]
  13. Originally, the Carnegie Hall lineup included keyboardist Booker T. Jones, Tower of Power horn section, and the Golden Echos, the latter of which was a teenage gospel trio from Boston that had never performed outside of a church. [109]
  14. In late September 1984, Double Trouble rehearsed for three days at a sound stage in Austin. [111] On September 29, the twelve-piece band performed two shows at the Caravan of Dreams in Fort Worth, Texas for a dress rehearsal. [112] On October 1–2, they rehearsed on a sound stage in New York before a quick run-through during soundcheck on the afternoon of the performance. [113]
  15. Double Trouble wore mariachi-style suits fabricated by Nelda's Tailors in Austin. [111] They were made out of velvet and decorated with silver buttons, which were sewn by a tailor in Nuevo Laredo. [108] With Layton and Shannon in royal blue suits, Vaughan wore both a royal blue and ruby red suit, for each portion of the performance respectively. [119] An elaborate stage set was built from plywood, painted lapis blue enamel with metallic gold striping. [111]
  16. According to Patoski and Crawford, some members of the audience were initially reserved during the performance, but a fan shouted, "Stand up. This isn't La traviata ." [110]
  17. According to Hopkins, Double Trouble signed autographs for over 500 fans, an appearance which lasted for two and a half hours; the line of fans stretched out of the door onto Broadway and around the corner. [124]
  18. The Soul to Soul album cover was taken at the Anderson Mill Garden Club in Volente, Texas. [138]
  19. A portion of the show was broadcast on local radio, but as of 2014, only one song has officially been released. [164]


  1. "Stevie Ray Vaughan – 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone . November 23, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  2. "2015 Rock Hall Of Fame Class Includes Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Green Day". December 16, 2014.
  3. "Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  4. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 5
  5. Patoski & Crawford 1993, p. 3
  6. Hopkins 2011 , p. 4
  7. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 6: Jim and Martha meeting at a 7-Eleven in the late 1940s; Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 8: Jim and Martha married in 1950.
  8. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , pp. 8–9: Jim's alcohol abuse and temper; Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 42: Jim's violence
  9. "Jimmie Lee Vaughan (1921 - 1986) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  10. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 10
  11. Joseph 1983
  12. Hopkins 2010 , p. 7
  13. Evans & Middlebrook 2002, pp. 174, 200
  14. Hopkins 2010 , p. 8
  15. Larkin 2006
  16. Hopkins 2010 , p. 155
  17. Gill 2010
  18. 1 2 Hopkins 2010 , p. 10: Vaughan's first gig with the Chantones in 1965; Hopkins 2010 , p. 16: Vaughan joining the Brooklyn Underground in 1967.
  19. Hopkins 2011 , p. 325
  20. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 22
  21. Hopkins 2010 , p. 16
  22. Hopkins 2010 , p. 19
  23. Hopkins 2010 , p. 22
  24. Hopkins 2010 , p. 21: Vaughan being told that there was no money in blues; Hopkins 2010 , p. 22: break-up of the Southern Distributor.
  25. 1 2 3 Hopkins 2010 , p. 23
  26. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 62
  27. Hopkins 2010 , p. 27
  28. Hopkins 2010 , p. 31
  29. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 40
  30. 1 2 3 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 41
  31. Hopkins 2010 , p. 24
  32. Hopkins 2010 , pp. 36–38
  33. Hopkins 2010 , p. 61: Blackbird opening for Zephyr; Hopkins 2010 , p. 63: Blackbird opening for Sugarloaf; Hopkins 2010 , p. 65: Blackbird opening for Wishbone Ash; Gill 2010: Blackbird's inconsistent lineup.
  34. Hopkins 2010 , pp. 67–70: "December 2 is the last entry for Blackbird in Charlie Hatchett's booking records until December 30–31. It would not be surprising if the band had broken up early in the month but had the 30th and New Year's Eve gigs planned well in advance. Stevie probably moved into Krackerjack at this time."
  35. Hopkins 2010 , p. 23: Vaughan meets Marc Benno at a jam session; Hopkins 2010 , p. 73: Vaughan joins Marc Benno's band, the Nightcrawlers.
  36. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 21
  37. Hopkins 2010 , p. 74: Vaughan's first songwriting efforts; Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 68: Nightcrawlers' rejection by A&M Records.
  38. Hopkins 2010 , p. 77
  39. Hopkins 2010 , p. 80
  40. Hopkins 2010 , p. 84
  41. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 83
  42. Hopkins 2010 , pp. 91–92
  43. Patoski & Crawford 1993, p. 95
  44. Hopkins 2010 , p. 99
  45. Hopkins 2010 , p. 103
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  47. Hopkins 2010 , p. 109
  48. Hopkins 2010 , p. 117
  49. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 111
  50. Hopkins 2010 , p. 127
  51. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 114
  52. 1 2 Hopkins 2010 , p. 127: Vaughan befriends Lenny; Hopkins 2010 , p. 152: marriage to Lenny; Hopkins 2011 , p. 136: separation from Lenny.
  53. Patoski & Crawford 1993, p. 130
  54. 1 2 Hopkins 2010 , p. 136
  55. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 134
  56. Hopkins 2010 , p. 150: Barton leaves Double Trouble; Hopkins 2010 , p. 160: Vaughan signs management contract with Millikin.
  57. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 136: Vaughan hires Cutter as road manager; Hopkins 2010 , p. 23: Vaughan meets Cutter.
  58. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 136
  59. Hopkins 2010 , p. 164
  60. Hopkins 2010 , p. 167
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  63. Gregory 2003, p. 66.
  64. Hopkins 2011 , pp. 155–156
  65. 1 2 Hopkins 2010 , p. 158
  66. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 132
  67. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 169
  68. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 145
  69. 1 2 Hopkins 2010 , p. 200
  70. McBride 1985.
  71. Patoski & Crawford 1993, p. 148
  72. Hopkins 2010, p. 205
  73. Santelli 1985 (primary source); Hopkins 2010 , p. 200 (secondary source)
  74. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 149
  75. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 150
  76. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 152: Bowie songs that included Vaughan; Hopkins 2011 , p. 3: recording sessions with Bowie.
  77. Hopkins 2011 , p. 12
  78. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , pp. 157–158
  79. Hopkins 2011 , p. 11
  80. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 152
  81. Hopkins 2011 , p. 14
  82. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , pp. 154–155: Vaughan's contract renegotiations for Serious Moonlight tour; Hopkins 2010 , p. 16: Vaughan quits the Serious Moonlight tour.
  83. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 155
  84. Hopkins 2010 , pp. 16–17
  85. Hopkins 2011 , p. 16 (primary source); Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 160 (secondary source)
  86. 1 2 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 160
  87. Hopkins 2011 , p. 16
  88. Hopkins 2010 , p. 117: "Now that he is part of the quintuple-headed vox machine known merely as Triple Threat, Stevie begins to write, starting with 'Pride and Joy' and 'I'm Cryin′' for his girlfriend, Lindi Bethel ... of course, the two songs are musical twins, but the lyrics reveal opposite perspectives of their rollercoaster relationship."
  89. Hopkins 2010 , p. 111
  90. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 143
  91. 1 2 Hopkins 2011 , p. 21
  92. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 159
  93. Allmusic, 2014
  94. Billboard, June 1983
  95. Hopkins 2011 , p. 24
  96. 1 2 3 Hopkins 2011 , p. 22
  97. 1 2 3 Hopkins 2011 , p. 39
  98. Hopkins 2011 , pp. 43–44
  99. 1 2 Hopkins 2011 , p. 46: "January: Studio sessions for Couldn't Stand the Weather, nineteen days at New York City's Power Station."
  100. In the Studio, Album Network, 1993, Redbeard (primary source); Hopkins 2011 , p. 46 (secondary source)
  101. 1 2 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 173
  102. 1 2 3 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 176
  103. "In Deep: Stevie Ray Vaughan's Playing on "Couldn't Stand the Weather"". Guitar World . Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  104. Hopkins 2011 , p. 59
  105. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 174
  106. "Couldn't Stand the Weather – Stevie Ray Vaughan: Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". Allmusic. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  107. Hopkins 2011 , p. 72
  108. 1 2 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 177
  109. Erskine, Evelyn (August 16, 1984). "Guitar ace loves to play music 'that has soul'". Ottawa Citizen . Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  110. 1 2 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 178
  111. 1 2 3 Aledort 2000, p. 156
  112. Hopkins 2011, p. 71
  113. Hopkins 2011, pp. 71–72
  114. 1 2 3 Rhodes 1984a
  115. Hopkins 2011 , p. 73
  116. Rhodes 1984a: Vaughan found taking a limousine to Carnegie Hall necessary; Prial 2006 , p. 302: the band took the stage around 8:00 p.m.
  117. 1 2 Holden 1984
  118. Prial 2006 , p. 302: "one of the greatest guitar players of all time"; Hopkins 2011 , p. 74: Carnegie Hall set list; Rhodes 1984a: "... wearing Mexican tuxedos ..."
  119. Schwartz 1997: "...Chris and Tommy in royal blue, Stevie in ruby red.";Hopkins 2011, p. 75: "he wore the blue suit for one set and the red suit for the other set."
  120. Hopkins 2011 , p. 74
  121. Rhodes 1984b
  122. Hopkins 2011 , pp. 298, 305
  123. Hopkins 2011 , p. 75: "After the show, MTV threw a private party for the band, record company and other VIPs."; Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 178: "After the show MTV threw a party for him at a downtown club ... Inside, Stevie glad-handed an hour's worth of well-wishers ..."
  124. 1 2 Hopkins 2011 , p. 76
  125. Hopkins 2011 , pp. 77–78
  126. Hopkins 2011 , p. 78 (primary source); Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 180 (secondary source)
  127. Hopkins 2011 , pp. 81, 83
  128. Hopkins 2011 , pp. 85–88
  129. Hopkins 2011 , p. 89
  130. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 192
  131. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 191; Hopkins 2011 , p. 90
  132. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 191
  133. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 190: difficulty for Vaughan to play rhythm guitar and sing at the same time; Hopkins 2011 , p. 89: Wynans added keyboards and soon joined the band.
  134. 1 2 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 194
  135. Hopkins 2011 , p. 95
  136. Nixon 2011
  137. Hopkins 2011 , p. 109: Soul to Soul released on September 30, 1985; Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 197: Soul to Soul peaked at 34 and remained on the charts through mid-1986, eventually turning gold.
  138. Hopkins 2011, p. 110
  139. 1 2 Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 197
  140. Rosen 1985
  141. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 204
  142. Hopkins 2011 , pp. 136–137
  143. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 205: "The Austin shows sold out in minutes, as fans showed their support for their hometown hero."; Hopkins 2011 , pp. 136–137: Live Alive recording dates.
  144. Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 205
  145. 1 2 3 4 Paul 1999
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  147. Hopkins 2011 , p. 152; Patoski & Crawford 1993 , p. 268
  148. Hopkins 2011 , p. 140
  149. Hopkins 2011 , p. 137: "..better efforts..."; Paul 1999: Vaughan quote about Live Alive.
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Further reading

Related Research Articles

<i>Texas Flood</i> 1983 studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Texas Flood is the debut studio album by the American blues rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, released on June 13, 1983 by Epic Records. The album was named after a cover featured on the album, "Texas Flood", which was first recorded by blues singer Larry Davis in 1958. Produced by the band and recording engineer Richard Mullen, Texas Flood was recorded in the space of three days at Jackson Browne's personal recording studio in Los Angeles. Vaughan wrote six of the album's ten tracks.

Tommy Shannon American bass guitarist

Tommy Shannon is an American bass guitarist, who is best known as a member of Double Trouble, a blues rock band led by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Shannon moved to Dumas, Texas when he was nine, where he originally started as a guitarist, though he started playing bass at the age of 21. He appeared with Johnny Winter at Woodstock in 1969. He later joined Double Trouble in 1981 and became a permanent member of Double Trouble until Vaughan's death in 1990. Shannon and bandmate Chris Layton later formed supergroups such as the Arc Angels and Storyville.

Double Trouble is an American blues rock band from Austin, Texas, formed by guitarist/singer Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1978. The group was active throughout the 1980s and contributed to reviving the blues, inspiring many later blues and rock musicians. Formed in Austin, Texas, by 1985 the group consisted of Vaughan, Chris Layton (drums), Tommy Shannon (bass), and eventually Reese Wynans (keyboards). While with Vaughan the band was billed Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Rooted in blues and rock music, the group worked in many genres ranging from ballads to soul, often incorporating jazz and other elements.

Pride and Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan song) song performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Pride and Joy" is a song by Texas singer/guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and his backup band Double Trouble. It is an original composition by Vaughan and appeared on his 1983 Epic Records debut album Texas Flood. "Pride and Joy" was also released as Vaughan's first single and has become one of his best-known songs.

<i>The Sky Is Crying</i> (album) 1991 studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

The Sky Is Crying is the fifth and final studio album of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, containing recordings spanning most of their career. Released 14 months after Vaughan's death in 1990, the album features ten previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1984 and 1989. Only one title, "Empty Arms", appeared on any of the group's previous albums. The tracks were compiled by Vaughan's brother, Jimmie Vaughan, and was Vaughan's highest charting album at Number 10.

<i>In the Beginning</i> (Stevie Ray Vaughan album) 1992 live album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

In the Beginning is the second live album by Stevie (Ray) Vaughan and Double Trouble. While the album was released about two years after Vaughan's death in 1990, the actual performance took place on April 1, 1980 at Steamboat 1874 in Austin, Texas, and was broadcast live on KLBJ-FM radio. A 25-year-old Vaughan, still more than three years away from the release of his first studio album, performs with his "Double Trouble" bandmates: Chris Layton, drummer, and Jackie Newhouse, bassist.

<i>Live Alive</i> 1986 live album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Live Alive is the first live album compiled from four live performances by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. The performances were recorded on July 15, 1985 at the Montreux Jazz Festival; July 17–18, 1986 at the Austin Opera House; and July 19, 1986 at Dallas Starfest. Much of the album was overdubbed in the studio.

Texas Flood World Tour

The Texas Flood World Tour was a concert tour in North America and Western Europe, undertaken by American blues rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in 1983 and 1984. The band had released their debut album, Texas Flood, a week before the tour began.

Couldnt Stand the Weather Tour

The Couldn't Stand the Weather Tour was a worldwide concert tour by blues rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Produced in support of their 1984 album Couldn't Stand the Weather, the tour visited North America, Europe, Australasia and Japan from 1984 to 1985. To reflect the new musical direction that the group took with Couldn't Stand the Weather, the tour was aimed to differ from their past and surpass expectations of the band. In comparison to Vaughan and Double Trouble's modest stage setup from the previous Texas Flood Tour, the Couldn't Stand the Weather Tour involved a slightly more elaborate production. It utilized grander amplifier setups and sound systems to take advantage of the larger venues in which they performed. To avoid their renowned strictly blues material, Vaughan and Double Trouble embodied a more expanded and varied repertoire during performances. In disparity to the previous tour, each of the Couldn't Stand the Weather shows opened with mostly the same three songs before other material was played. The album and the tour were the beginnings of the group's mid-eighties musical development.

The Soul to Soul Tour was a concert tour through North America, Europe and Australasia, undertaken by American blues rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble from 1985 through 1986. At the beginning of the tour, the band had finished recording their album Soul to Soul. Their commercial and critical acclaim had been demonstrated during the Couldn't Stand the Weather Tour in 1984, when they had played before a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall. Longing for opportunities to expand the group's lineup, Vaughan and Double Trouble hired keyboardist Reese Wynans during the Soul to Soul recording sessions in Dallas, Texas. Throughout the tour, the band's success was confirmed as their performances consistently amazed and gratified their audiences.

Live Alive Tour

The Live Alive Tour was a concert tour through North America and Europe, undertaken by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble from 1986 to 1988. At the start of the tour, Vaughan and bassist Tommy Shannon had both achieved sobriety. Their success with overcoming long-term drug and alcohol addiction had been attained by entering a rehabilitation facility, where they stayed for four weeks. Although Vaughan was nervous about performing while sober, he received encouragement from his bandmates. Throughout the tour during performances, Vaughan would warn his audiences about the dangers of substance abuse.

In Step Tour

The In Step Tour was a concert tour through the United States and Canada, undertaken by American blues rock band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble from 1989 to 1990. Launched in support of their fourth and final studio album In Step, the tour was the third of which to include keyboardist Reese Wynans, who joined the band in 1985. Vaughan and Double Trouble achieved international fame when their debut album, Texas Flood, was released in June 1983. Throughout their subsequent concert tours, the group's success was confirmed as their performances consistently amazed and gratified their audiences. Like all of their previous tours, the In Step Tour was a basic, minimalistic production. The stage featured a simple light show that changed according to the mood of certain songs performed. Although Vaughan and Double Trouble never followed a set list, all ten songs from In Step were played at least once during the tour, and as many as seven of them were included in each of the band's performances.

Stevie Ray Vaughan discography

Stevie Ray Vaughan was an American blues rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and the frontman for the band Double Trouble. During his career he released four studio albums, one live album, and several singles.

<i>Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985</i> 2001 live album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985 is the fourth live album of American blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble, recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 17, 1982 and July 15, 1985, and released November 20, 2001 on Epic Records. Neither are complete concerts.

Death of Stevie Ray Vaughan

On Monday, August 27, 1990, American musician Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash near East Troy, Wisconsin, at age 35. He was one of the most influential blues guitarists of the 1980s, described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as "the second coming of the blues".

Double Trouble, an American blues rock band fronted by Stevie Ray Vaughan, did various live performances throughout the world, including tours in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. In addition to normal concerts, the band has performed in both supporting and headlining roles at festivals such as the Reading Festival in 1983 and Montreux Jazz Festival in 1985, as well as many other one-off performances including Carnegie Hall. Critical and commercial response to Double Trouble live performances has generally been positive. Critics have pointed to Vaughan's aggressive on-stage intensity as a high point. In total, the band have performed 834 shows throughout their career.

Chris Layton American Drummer

Christopher "Chris" Layton, also known as "Whipper", is an American drummer who rose to fame as one of the founding members of Double Trouble, a blues rock band led by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Layton moved to Austin in 1975 and joined the band Greezy Wheels. He later joined Vaughan's band Double Trouble in 1978. After forming successful partnerships with bandmates Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans, Double Trouble recorded and performed with Vaughan until his death in 1990. Layton and Shannon later formed supergroups such as the Arc Angels, Storyville, and Grady. Layton is the drummer for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

Jim Suhler American blues rock vocalist and guitarist

Jim Suhler is an American Texas Blues guitarist. Suhler has been playing professionally since the 1980s and has performed with a variety of Blues legends that include George Thorogood, Johnny Winter, AC/DC, Buddy Whittington, Billy F. Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Elvin Bishop, and Buddy Guy along with many other notable musicians. He resides in Dallas, Texas and plays locally in and around Texas' major cities, especially Dallas/Fort Worth with his own band, "Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat", in addition to the remainder of the United States and also Canada.

Bill Carter is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame. He is best known for co-writing "Crossfire" and "Willie The Wimp", recorded by Stevie Ray Vaughan; "Why Get Up?", recorded by The Fabulous Thunderbirds; and "Jacksboro Highway", recorded by John Mayall. Carter's songs have been covered by other blues, country, and rock artists including Waylon Jennings, Robert Palmer, Ruth Brown, Stray Cats, and Counting Crows.