STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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


After playing in a series of bands, Dallas-native Vaughan formed Double Trouble with drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon in the late 1970s. A popular local draw, Vaughan soon attracted attention from David Bowie and Jackson Browne, and he played on albums with both.


Bowie first caught Vaughan at the Montreux Jazz Festival where he was initially booed by many who disliked his hard blues sound. Vaughan is most notably featured on Bowie’s album, “Let’s Dance", in the songs “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl.” Vaughan’s debut album was the critical smash Texas Flood (produced by John Hammond), and sold well in blues and rock crowds.


Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s second album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather (1984) was even more successful than Texas Flood, as was Soul to Soul (1985).


Drug addiction and alcoholism began to take their toll on Vaughan in the mid 1980s, eventually resulting in his collapse while on tour in 1986, followed by the cancellation of the remainder of the tour. He checked into rehab in Georgia later that year.


Following his return, Vaughan recorded In Step (1989), another critical sensation that won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Record. A duet album, Family Style , with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan (also a noted blues-rock guitarist and former member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds) was released in September 1990 after Stevie’s death and was a popular hit.


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


1991’s The Sky is Crying was the first of several posthumous releases with chart success. Jimmie Vaughan would later co-write and record a song in tribute to his brother and other late blues guitarists, entitled “Six Strings Down “.


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


In 1991, Texas governor Ann Richards proclaimed October 3, Vaughan’s birthday, to be “Stevie Ray Vaughan Day.”


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


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


In 2004, Fender releases the Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute Model “Number One” Stratocaster Guitar. A direct replica of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s primary guitar.