Stevie Ray Vaughan
A legend in his own time
With this being the 30th anniversary we lost Stevie Ray Vaughan, we who love his music should celebrate and reflect on his accomplishments to the music world.
His career lasted only seven short years, but what a legacy he has left us. If you had a chance to see him, you are lucky. I last saw Stevie at Old Orchard Beach in Maine when the Stray Cats opened up August 6, 1989. I was near the stage and not far from him — it was another jaw-dropping experience. I made an attempt to see him with Jeff Beck at Madison Square Garden, to no avail.
Double Trouble and David Bowie
Throughout the early to mid 1970’s, Stevie was in various bands and in 1978, he formed his band, Double Trouble, with bassist Jackie Newhouse and drummer Chris Layton completing the band. The band became a staple at an Austin, Texas club, the Rome Inn. After Newhouse’s departure in 1980, Stevie asked bassist Tommy Shannon to join and he didn’t hesitate. The band was known as Double Trouble, but they were most commonly known as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.
In 1982, record producer Jerry Wexler helped the band to get a slot at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The next night, Double Trouble was at a gig at the Montreux Casino, and among the attendees was Jackson Browne, who even got up and jammed. Browne told the band they could use his studio to record for free. While recording, Stevie received a call from David Bowie, and asked if he would be interested in playing on his next studio album, Let’s Dance. The record was a hit and started to make Stevie a name. As David Bowie was planning Let’s Dance tour, Stevie did not want to agree to David’s terms and went back to Texas.
Texas Flood and the beginning of a legacy
The recordings used from Jackson Browne’s studio, turned in to their first album, Texas Flood, including radio favorites, “Love Struck Baby” and “Pride and Joy.” In 1984, Double Trouble recorded their follow up-album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, the title track of the same name was a hit on MTV and solidified the band as a concert draw. The band began to play bigger venues on their own and even headlined a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In 1985, Double Trouble’s third album, Soul to Soul, was released and by this time, their live performances were in demand and resulted in the 1986 release, Live Alive, recorded in Austin at the Austin Opera House, and the Dallas Starfes in Dallas. Stevie also admitted himself to rehab for substance and alcohol addiction.
In Step and another day music died
The divorce of Stevie and his wife Lenny in 1987 prevented him from releasing any new material. Finally, in 1989, the much anticipated fourth album, In Step, was released. Stevie was concerned that now being sober would have an effect on his playing, he was right. In Step was a smash hit with such radio favorites as, Crossfire, Tight Rope, and The House is a Rocking’. In Step was the most commercially successful release to date and won a Grammy Award. The band continued to support the album through 1990.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were invited to open for Eric Clapton at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin for two sold-out shows, August 26 and 27, 1990. Unfortunately, this show would be Vaughan’s last, as the helicopter carrying Stevie and some of Eric Clapton’s crew crashed into a nearby ski hill shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board.
Stevie’s last show August 27, 1990 (audio only)
Stevie playing Hendrix’ “Little Wing”
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