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Stevie Ray Vaughan

(October 3, 1954 - August 27, 1990)
Stevie Ray Vaughan

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Vaughan died in a helicopter crash near East Troy, Wisconsin following a concert at the Alpine Valley Music Theater where earlier in the evening he appeared with Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and his older brother Jimmie Vaughan. The idea that Clapton gave up his seat in the ill fated helicopter is a myth. Eric explains in his autobiography there were 4 copters chartered to fly musicians back to Chicago. Stevie was on board a different helicopter with 2 of Eric's crew. (thanks, Lou - Scranton, PA)
Vaughan attracted attention from David Bowie and Jackson Browne, and he played on albums with both. Bowie featured Vaughan on his Let's Dance album in the songs "Let's Dance" and "China Girl."
Bowie first saw Vaughan at the Montreux Jazz Festival where initially a few members of the audience, who disliked his hard blues sound booed Vaughan, though most of the crowd cheered him, as can be witnessed in the Live At Montreux DVD.
Stevie had a distinct sound of his own which was partly based on using heavy 13-gauge strings. Vaughan's sound and playing style, which often features simultaneous lead and rhythm parts, also draws frequent comparisons to that of Jimi Hendrix; Vaughan covered several Hendrix tunes on his studio albums and in performance.
As well as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan's blues playing style was strongly influenced by Albert King who dubbed himself Stevie's "Godfather."
Drug addiction and alcoholism took a toll on Vaughan in the mid-1980s, and he collapsed while on tour in 1986. He checked into rehab in Georgia later that year. He managed to recover from his addictions and became a teetotaler. (thanks, James - Bransgore, England, for above 5)
His older brother Jimmie inspired him to pick up a guitar. Stevie Ray recorded his 1990 Brother To Brother album with Jimmie.
He formed the band Triple Threat in 1975 with vocalist Lou Ann Barton, bassist Jackie Newhouse and drummer Chris Layton. When Barton left in 1978, Vaughan took over vocals and the band was renamed "Double Trouble." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)

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While it wasn't Clapton's seat, SRV wasn't initially intending to leave that night, as he had a room at the AV chalet. Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton said that when he heard the news, he couldn't believe Stevie was dead and he ran to Stevie's room, but found it unoccupied and the bed untouched. Tragic loss.
- Tom, Appleton, WI
He caught my eye w/his hat-then he caught my ear w/his music-then he opened my world to what was for me was a whole new genre. He expanded my horizons-THANKS SRV.
- diane, Tuscaloosa, AL
I was in Alaska from 88 to 91. I saw Double Trouble perform in a local highschool gymnasium. When they came out on stage and opened the show it seemed like they would have rather been anywhere else in the world. The crowd rushed the stage, terrifying local security, and then it began....the best show I've ever been to. I was pressed against the barrier just a few feet away from a man dressed in cowhide chaps playing Hendrix behind his back. I don't recall who was playing organ that night, but he was amazing as well.

I just met an artist who does oils of Stevie. She paints them with her feet. They are beautiful.
- Dave, Sacramento, CA
17+ years later and I still miss him. I was lucky enough to see him with his brother in a small venue. I liked Stevie before I went to the concert. I came out a die-hard fan. The day I heard about his death I started to lock myself in my apartment and have a bender but I couldn't do that in memory of a man that had worked so hard to be clean. We miss you, Stevie. You were the greatest!
- coffeegod, Brandon, MS
Stevie's sound was really like new at the time. His distinctive sound was because of several factors. First, he had heavy strings, GHS nickelrockers, 13-58, or 11-58 when his fingers hurt. Next came the pickups. The pickups came from 1959, but what was different about his set was that they were accidently overwound, creating a boost in harmonics, and a nice smooooth sound. Stevie played at first through a marshall combo that was 80 watts about, but he then got two Fender(R) Vibroverbs(TM). These amps have a 15 inch speaker, which gives the sound the full range of bass, middle, and treble frequencies. He had his modified for more gain. He had an Ibanez(R) TS808 overdrive pedal (ibanez recently re-put the ts808 on the market) Vox V-847 wah wah (modified with true bypass) and various other pedals including a Univibe, Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face etc. In the song "Leave my girl alone" (soul to soul album) he plays a gibson(R) ES-335. He had many other guitars.
Stevie was amazing....
- mel, paris, France
Stevie Ray Vaughan was an amazing musician. His ability to play the guitar is unmatched (in my personal opinion). His songs make you want to get up and dance and sing. My parents saw him in concert shortly before he died and said it was the most amazing thing they've ever experienced. He will always be celebrated, remembered and missed. RIP Stevie.
- Kelsy, Rochester, NY
fender made a tribute guitar for stevie, not the artist one it was one that was made to look EXACTLY like his #1 with the broken up body, cigarette marks on the headstock and everything.
- mel, paris, France
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