Stevie Ray Vaughan, 25 Years After His Death, His Music Is Still Popular

August 28, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Stevie Ray Vaughan is being celebrated 25 years after his death. Vaughan, who died at the age of 35 in a tragic helicopter accident just seven years into a very promising career, left an indisputable mark on blues music.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Countless tributes have been put together in remembrance of the legendary singer and guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, 25 years after his passing.

Stevie Ray Vaughan, aka Stephen Ray Vaughan, was born in 1954 in Dallas, Texas, where his older brother, Jimmie Lee Vaughan, inspired him to learn to play several instruments including the guitar, drums and saxophone.

As a teen, Vaughan dropped out of high school and moved to Austin where he became a paid member of Marc Benno‘s band, the Nightcrawlers, and later joined Denny Freeman in the Cobras.

He eventually formed his own group named the Triple Threat Revue, which was changed to Double Trouble. The band made a splash at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982, and a year later, their first album Texas Flood succeeded mildly on the charts.

They eventually landed a record deal with A&R at Epic Records, went on to release five albums including Couldn’t Stand the Weather, The Sky Is Crying and Family Style, which featured his brother, Jimmie Vaughan and they toured the world.

The band performed with David Bowie, opened for Bryan Adams, with Hammond, Mick Jagger, John McEnroe, Rick Nielsen, and Billy Gibbons. With fame and fortune came drugs, alcohol and sex.

At the height of Vaughan’s career, he was arrested for substance and alcohol abuse. According to his bio:

…the earliest that Vaughan is known to have ingested the drug is in 1975, while performing with the Cobras. Before that, Vaughan had briefly used other drugs such as cannabis, methamphetamine, and Quaaludes, the brand name for methaqualone. After 1975, he regularly drank whiskey and used cocaine, particularly mixing the two substances together.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.

His first wife, Lenora “Lenny” Bailey, divorced him because he was cheating.

After several rehab stints, he achieved sobriety and got engaged to Janna Lapidus. On August 27, 1990, after performing with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin, Vaughan boarded a helicopter bound for Chicago, which crashed.

According to Rolling Stone:

“Vaughan influenced a lot of older blues artists to return to the stage, Buddy Guy and other people have said doors opened for them after Stevie came along that had been closed for years.”

Guitar World wrote:

For someone who spent a mere seven and a half years as a heavy player on the world stage, Texas guitar-slinger Stevie Ray Vaughan left behind a wealth of recorded material—and one hell of a legacy.

What are your thoughts on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s legacy, 25 years after his death?


Category: Music

Comments (4)

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  1. JPW says:

    One helluva axe man and still missed to this day along with the great Randy Rhoads and Dimebag Darrel. All left a permanent mark on guitarmanship that will last forever. RIP SRV.

  2. Scott Wilkie says:

    SRV was one of those talents that comes along once in a lifetime, What this man could do with a guitar left us awestruck.
    Almost anyone can be taught to play the guitar but it takes a higher power to give us those soulful, effortless, fluid lightening bolt riffs that brought us delirium.
    In hindsight it’s so easy to grasp why David Bowie and Jackson Browne were so initially drawn to in helping this young guitar gunslingers dreams come true on first seeing his talents at Montreux.
    He was a true inspiration to so many musicians who thought the 80’s were the death of true rock n roll and blues.
    With Chris Latham and Tommy Shannon in tow, Double Trouble’s power trio had performances of sheer magic
    (Live at El Mocambo) (Austin City Limits)
    SRV always paid homage to the great Bluesmem that inspired his playing like Buddy Guy, Albert King.
    For me today is a sad day, I’m gonna go play “Lenny” then “Life By The Drop” and later tonight “The Sky is Crying” with a glass of Scotch in hand and toast the 25 years that have passed that we have missed this true blues man.
    All the best!

  3. DJ Austin says:

    Stevie was part of the scene in Austin in the late 70s, when I came to town selling Christmas trees. My girlfriend in town knew him and invited him to her Christmas party, where we sat on the porch and played blues together, me on harmonica and he playing a beat-up acoustic. Great times! I still have the harp!

  4. SteveW says:

    Apart from Jimi Hendrix, the only other guitarist who could really play Voodoo Child.

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