Although his top-flight career was cruelly cut short, Stevie Ray Vaughan remains one of the most influential players of modern times. Indeed, in a flurry of hairspray and spandex, hair metal was the 80s habitat stalked by many guitarists with cranked amps seeking to summon the spirit of Jimi. But Stevie Ray was different. Refreshing, in that he looked even further back. Image: Getty Images. He made his name with his band Double Trouble in the Austin, Texas music scene, and by the turn of the 80s had bridged the gap back to the 60s blues explosion like no other. Mick Jagger was an early admirer — inviting SRV to play a private party — and after a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival, David Bowie was immediately another. Vaughan was thus soon in the unlikely position of club-level hero and simultaneous sidekick to superstars. If he was in the right place at the right time for his rise, it was the exact opposite when he was killed in a helicopter crash in At just 35, Stevie Ray Vaughan was taken down just as he reached a personal summit.
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Although his mainstream career only spanned seven years, he is considered to be one of the most iconic and influential musicians in the history of blues music , and one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas , Vaughan began playing guitar at age seven, initially inspired by his elder brother Jimmie Vaughan. In , he dropped out of high school and moved to Austin , where he began to gain a following after playing gigs on the local club circuit. Vaughan formed the band Double Trouble in and established it as part of the Austin music scene , which soon became one of the most popular acts in Texas. He performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in where David Bowie saw him play and contacted him for a studio gig, resulting in Stevie playing his blues guitar on the album Let's Dance before being discovered by John Hammond , who interested major label Epic Records in signing them to a record deal. Within months, Vaughan achieved mainstream success with Double Trouble for the critically acclaimed debut album Texas Flood. With a series of successful network television appearances and extensive concert tours, he became the leading figure in the blues revival of the s. Playing his guitar behind his back or plucking the strings with his teeth like Jimi Hendrix did, he earned unprecedented stardom in Europe which later resulted in breakthroughs for guitar players like Robert Cray, Jeff Healey, Robben Ford and Walter Trout, amongst others. During the majority of his life, Vaughan struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He also struggled with the personal and professional pressures of fame, and his marriage to Lenora "Lenny" Bailey.
Vaughan had hit albums with his band before the release of In Step , for which he earned a Grammy. He also recorded with his brother Jimmy. Vaughan died in a late night helicopter crash on August 27, , at Vaughan was at the forefront of a blues resurgence in the s, bringing rock fans into the fold with a powerful, driving style of play that earned him comparisons with some of his heroes such as Jimi Hendrix , Otis Rush and Muddy Waters. His four main studio albums were critical and commercial successes, rising high on the music charts and paving the way to sold-out stadium shows across the country.
It was a foggy evening and the pilot crashed into a ski hill near the venue shortly after takeoff, killing Vaughan and everyone else on board. The title of the album refers to the step recovery process that Vaughan learned in treatment, and he remained very focused on sobriety and healthy living throughout the entire In Step tour. The tour began in theaters where Vaughan and Double Trouble headlined, but it eventually moved into large arenas and amphitheaters where they shared the bill with the likes of Jeff Beck and Joe Cocker. For the final show at Alpine Valley, they were opening up for Eric Clapton in front of roughly 40, fans. Related Eric Clapton, B. There was no room for improvement. Newswire Powered by.