Stevie Ray Vaughan Biography
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1954 - Stephen Ray Vaughan is born October 3 at Methodist Hospital in Dallas, Texas to Jim and Martha Vaughan.
1961 - Stevie receives his first guitar. He described it as "a plastic toy, with only three strings." Under the guidance of his brother Jimmie (b. 1951), Stevie's talent begins to form.
1966 - Jimmie's friend Doyle Bramhall hears Stevie playing guitar (a song called "Jeff's Boogie") and is duly impressed. He encourages the young guitarist to keep practicing. As Stevie put it, "He was the first one that ever told me I was good."
1970 - While working as a dishwasher in a Dallas burger joint called Dairy Mart, Stevie falls into a barrel full of grease. He decides to quit his job and pursue his dream of being a full-time musician and forms the band Blackbird. He later described the "grease incident" in a television interview:
"Part of my job was to clean out the trash bins. One night, I was standing on top of a barrel, [and] the top caved in. I fell in grease up to [my chest], and right then I decided 'I'm not gonna do this anymore. I'm gonna play guitar'."
1971 - Stevie sits in with a high school band call Cast of Thousands for two songs as they record an album called A New Hi. Over Christmas break, Stevie drops out of high school and moves to Austin with Blackbird.
1972 - Stevie joins Krackerjack, a rock band, but quits a few months later when the lead singer decides the band should wear makeup on stage. Krackerjack's bassist is future Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon.
1973 - Marc Benno invites Stevie to join his band the Nightcrawlers. Doyle Brahmall is also a member of the band. Later that year, the Nightcrawlers drive to Hollywood to record an album for A&M records. A&M decides not to release the record and the disappointed band travels back to Texas. Stevie finds a battered '59 Stratocaster in Ray's Music Exchange in Austin. He names it "Number One" and becomes his favorite guitar for the rest of his life.
1974 - Stevie joins Paul Ray and the Cobras, a popular Austin band. For the next two-and-a-half years, Stevie hones his talent on the Austin club circuit.
1977 - The Cobras win "Band Of the Year" in an Austin music poll. Stevie leaves the Cobras in September to form a blues/R&B band called Triple Threat Revue. The line-up stars Stevie Ray, W.C. Clark (bass), Lou Ann Barton (vocals), Freddie "Pharoah" Walden (drums), and Mike Kindred (keyboards).
1978 - W.C. Clark leaves the band and is replaced by Jackie Newhouse. Saxophone player Johnny Reno briefly joins the band. Freddie Walden later quits and is replaced by Chris "Whipper" Layton. The band renames itself Triple Threat.
1979 - In August, Triple threat plays at the San Francisco Blues Festival. Lenora (Lenny) Bailey and Stevie Ray Vaughan are married between sets at the Rome Inn in Austin on December 20.
1980 - Lou Ann Barton leaves Triple Threat to join Roomful of Blues. Stevie Ray renames the group Double Trouble. The group performs at the Steamboat 1874 club in Austin on April 1. This performance is recorded for radio and will later be released as the 1992 album In The Beginning.
1981 - On January 2, Tommy Shannon replaces Jackie Newhouse on bass. A taping of a performance at an Austin music festival winds up in the hands of Mick Jagger.
1982 - Stevie and Double Trouble play a private party for the Rolling Stones at New York's Danceteria on April 22. The band performs at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the first unsigned and unrecorded band to do so. David Bowie, who was in the audience, asks Stevie to play on his Let's Dance album. Jackson Browne, who was also in the audience in Montreaux, offers Stevie free studio time at his Downtown Studio in Los Angeles. In that studio, the band records what will become Texas Flood in only two days. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble are signed to Epic Records by legendary A&R man John Hammond.
1983 - Texas Flood, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble's first album, is released on June 13. It is nominated for two Grammy awards: "Best Traditonal Blues Recording" and "Best Rock Instrumental Performance" (for "Rude Mood"). The band appears on the "Austin City Limits" telvision show. Stevie wins three categories in the Guitar Player's Readers Poll: "Best New Talent", "Best Blues Album", and "Best Electric Blues Guitarist" (beating out none other than Eric Clapton!). He becomes only the second guitarist in history to win three Guitar Player awards in one year (the first is Jeff Beck). Stevie will win the "Best Electric Blues Guitarist" award every year until 1991.
1984 - Couldn't Stand The Weather is released on May 15. Stevie wins his first Grammy: "Best Traditional Blues Recording" for his performace of "Texas Flood" from Montreux (this song appears on Blues Explosion from Atlantic Records). "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" from Couldn't Stand The Weather is nominated for "Best Rock Instrumental Performnce". In November, Stevie wins two W.C. Handy National Blues Awards: "Entertainer of the Year" and "Blues Instrumentalist of the Year." It is the first time a white person has won either award.
1985 - Keyboard player Reese Wynans joins Double Trouble. Epic releases Soul To Soul on September 30. This becomes Double Trouble's third gold album. Stevie receives his fifth Grammy nomination: "Best Rock Instrumental Performance" (for "Say What!" from Soul To Soul). He also produces Lonnie Mack's comeback album Strike Like Lightning and plays in several of its songs.
1986 - While on tour in Ludwigshafen, Germany, Stevie's years drug and alcohol abuse catch up with him and he collapses. He manages to struggle through two more shows, but the last 13 tour dates are canceled when Stevie enters a London drug rehabilitation clinic. Stevie's father Jim dies of Parkinson's disease on August 27. Live Alive is released on November 15.
1987 - Stevie makes a cameo apperance as himself in the movie "Back to the Beach," performing a duet of "Pipeline" with surf-guitar legend Dick Dale. In September, Stevie appears on the Cinemax special "Blues Session" with Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, B.B. King, and Albert King. He and Tommy Shannon emerge clean and sober from an Atlanta detox center. Later that year, Stevie files for divorce from Lenora Bailey Vaughan.
1988 - Stevie Ray appears on the MTV special "Stevie Wonder's Characters" and headlines a concert at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The performance (including a jam with B.B. King, Albert Collins, and Katie Webster) is filmed for inclusion in the Showtime special "Coast To Coast". Stevie's divorce from Lenora is finalized.
1989 - In January, Stevie and Double Trouble perform at an inaugural party for President George Bush in Washington, D.C. In Step is released on June 6. This is the first album that Stevie makes without the aid of drugs. "Crossfire" becomes Stevie's first #1 album radio hit and earns Stevie another Grammy ("Best Contemporary Blues Recording"). Double Trouble tours North America with Jeff Beck and appears on "Austin City Limits" for the second time.
1990 - On January 30, Stevie performs three songs on "MTV Unplugged." Stevie and Jimmie travel to Memphis to record Family Style in March and April. The album is released later that year. In June, he embarks on a two-month co-headlining tour with Joe Cocker. On August 25, Double Trouble performs at a concert at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. The line-up includes Robert Cray, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Guy. After a rousing final encore on the 26th, Stevie boards a helicopter on its way to Chicago. Shortly after midnight on August 27, Stevie Ray Vaughan is killed, along with the pilot and three members of Eric Clapton's entourage when the helicopter crashes into a fog-shrouded hill. He is buried in a private ceremony at Laurel Land Cemetary in Dallas, Texas on August 31. The mourners include Billy Gibbons Stevie Wonder, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Ringo Starr, and Dr. John. Outside the chapel, more than 3,000 fans gathered to say goodbye.
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Stevie - simply the best - honest from his heart | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/23/13
I don't think there will everl be anyone else quite like Stevie. His buttery vocals, soulful guitar style- his music is timeless - even after all these years it sounds fresh, soulful and current. His music and heart were pure and honest. His loss was such a tragedy - he was someone who is so dearly admired, loved missed. He had grown so much in the last four years and it showed in all he did. RIP - The Pride and Joy of Texas and the blues.
SRV fan | Reviewer: Tom Smith | 11/30/11
I had the opportunity to see SRV live twice before he died, and was in awe both times! The passion, sheer talent, and heart were amazing. One of the best concerts I've ever attended. If you're ever in Phx, check out a guy named Carvin Jones, plays alot of SRV, Hendrix, and Clapton. My favorite SRV song- Pride and Joy.
SRV 4 EVER! | Reviewer: Mahjoda | 10/14/11
I remember seeing him on Austin City Limits in the 80's and NEVER saw anyone with such passion in their playing! He obviously had the music in him & you could see it & feel it coming out of him. My friend & I drove to Asbury Park to see him at the Stone Pony & it was surreal. He sweated all over my girlfriend & I grabbed a guitar pick that fell on the floor. To this day I have to say that the day I saw him I saw our modern day Mozart. Pure genius that had all the love in the world and brought it out in his guitar playing. He also, along with Mickey Mantle helped me get & stay sober. Miss you Stevie!
we all are same | Reviewer: John Clef | 10/24/10
i have never met stevie or any great blues guitarist physically but when i am with my guitar playing blues then i feel like i m spiritually in it,may be that is why music links to heaven but anyways i love stevie and everyon does...Love you stevie and hope to see you someday....
angela arnold | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/12/10
my grandmother is buried in the same cemetary as stevie, everytime i visit her, i stop by his grave, my father used to go to school with him, we have some good yearbook pictures of him from dallas. RIP stevie, we love you
Saturday Night Live Stevie and His Band | Reviewer: shirley | 8/27/10
I was sound asleep with the television on.
I was awoken to this band I never heard before.
Stevie and his band were on Saturday Night Live
and he/they were fabulous. From them on I was an ardent fan and was lucky to see him at
RPI in Troy, NY. He is sure missed. May he rest in peace.
Great.! | Reviewer: B$al thapa. | 6/18/10
Well losing such a brilliant guitar maestry is like living like a dead.! He was my guitar god and is still my source of inspiration.. Listening to his music and songs really freezes me.! R.I.P.!
my husbands in heaven jammin w/ his best stevie ray God takes the best | Reviewer: harold kristycrouch | 5/25/10
my husband loved stevie better than anyone next to me.harold got killed 10-03-09 stevie's b-day. i know harolds jammin w/ stevie n waitin on me to rock on w/ them both praise Jesus he made n gots em both what a blessed man Jesus is.i can't wait
admired stevie | Reviewer: ms. jody alqayed | 3/13/10
stevie ray vaughan is a great and unique rocker,admired world wide,with so many different styles. it's wonderful to share the fact that we were born the same day the same year and the very same hospital in dallas texas.how unique,to share these things with such a great rocker.ms.jody s. alqyed.thanks
forever in our hearts and in our soul | Reviewer: FRED | 10/24/09
i can remembre the first time i hade ever hurd steve i never herd anything quoit like this i was in heaven ,man did he rock , around that time i was playing in a metal band and could not even fathom how much of a great player he was, but lets not forget a wonderful humane being and it must of been quoit a honor and privilege to even now the man.god love ya Stevie .thanks for the inspiration and the love that you shared thou your music.forever remembered in my heart. fp
stevie rocks!!!!!!!!!! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/28/09
Stevie Ray Vaughan is a grat influence on many guatair players especially my dad. He music is so good it was put on gutair hero!!! Pride and Joy is my fave thing to play on that game. it is just so bad that he can't be here today to keep on rockin. But, people still love his music today1!! You rock stevie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It took me a while,But I finally get it!! | Reviewer: Gerard Cox | 10/21/08
After playing the guitar for 40 yrs. I had decided that I no longer was having fun playing covers all night for the enjoyment of others.I narrowed my focus to a point where I found myself jamming with Stevie on UTUBE everynight.I found myself practicing 6 or 7 hrs. a day. Three years later and I've never had so many complements on my playing.Stevie lead me down the road I needed to be on.I learned to play less notes,makes solos more airy and play like you've committed your soul to the process.And tone was a focus as well. I love blues with an edge.Nobody does it better than SRV.I've never heard him play anything that didn;t fit the song.
Chilliwack B.C. Gerard
Still mesmerized by this giant | Reviewer: Shoshannah | 1/13/08
My 47 year old brother, a life-long musician/drummer, died two years ago this February but while he was here, we shared a tremendous love of Stevie Ray (I even named my Yorkshire Terrier Stevie Ray). We'd often pass videos back and forth or watch them together. One day my family was over and as we watched Stevie on Austin City Limits, he said of the seemingly, largely unmoved audience, whether to anyone who would listen or just to himself, I don't know, "Man, these people have no idea what they're looking at". Another brother replied, "Oh, and you do?" Damn right he knew! So did I. And to this day, for various reasons, it seems a lot of people still don't get it and when I see Stevie on the screen, I still wonder--will they ever 'get it'?
lali bella , love no lies | Reviewer: omar el-kadri | 8/20/07
i still got this tape, it's from 1983 or so, and iwas pretty young. it was a rockpalast show with the three and they played it live in the radio also.
so i recorded it, and i still got this tape.
when i visited my old man in leb years ago, a guitarrist friend borrowed this tape, and i could'nt hear it for ages. 'till i came again and insisted to have it back. i got a good copy of my own old tape.
being 13 14 years old i loved rhythm and blues so much, probably because everybody hated it and because it was the horrible age of duran duran and kraftwerk, new romantics and neue deutsche welle.
all the drum machines hurt my ears, and i sat there listening to all the other things.
how can i describe stevie ray, a teacher a friend a big brother, he opened my ears and eyes for so much.i loved memphis slim and all that, i listened to everything from the rythm and blues show on BFBS ( brit. forces broadcast ) and we had a very good record store in town, so i was priviledged to hear a lots of things.
but he unified so much or everything, gave a new bond of live to everything, and freed up everyone.
and of course he tought me so many little things in rythm and harmony.
i wish i could see him, but i know i had this dream where i was biking in the evening in an old southern city when i heard him play, then saw him in a sort of little bar playing, and he had no hat on, and i passed him my own metallic deep blue strat saying:play it, it would honor me, but he bent down towards little me looking like a big very kind native man saying: no, the honor is on my side.
love is strong.
ain't gone "N" give up on it.
raven raven, come let me tell you,
i shure like old icons too.
All-time Best Texas Boogie/Blues Guitarist | Reviewer: Omar Baltuth | 9/7/04
I'm amazed that no one else has seen fit to comment on the guitar-playing skill and consummarte blues mastery of the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. He exhibited such incredible facility and ease in his playing that he could cover anyone, from Dick Dale (Pipeline) to Jimi Hendrix (Little Wing). He was just so damned good at playing blues that he redefined the form for many listeners. Stevie started out in blues covering the great blues men and equalled their skill such ease that before his life was cut short, he played with them on stage and won their respect by executing brilliantly, but not overshadowing his mentors with flash. He complemented and enhanced their music, just as any great musician does. Listen to him playing with B. B. King and Eric Clapton some time. Notice how he plays along while the more famous guitarist does his solo. Then, when it's his turn, he renders the same song in a way that's all his own, and no less technically brilliant. One can't ever say that anyone playing at that level is "better" than another; they are just different. Stevie Ray Vaughan was unique and wonderful. Whether or not he was "the best" is irrelevant. We may never hear anyhone like him again. But, as admired and emulated as he is, a lot of people are trying to reach that stature, so it could well happen. I hope it's soon. I miss SRV, even 14 years after his death.
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