Happy birthday Stevie Ray Vaughan!

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Stevie Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954—August 27, 1990) was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, and bandleader. He is best known as the leader of the band Double Trouble.

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Vaughan was born Stephen Ray Vaughan in Dallas, Texas to Jimmie Lee "Big Jim" Vaughan and Martha Jean (Cook) Vaughan. His father was an asbestos worker, and his job required him to travel and move a lot. Sometimes Vaughan and his brother would be left at home with their mother and other times they'd move all together.

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Vaughan tried to play the drums and the saxophone but settled on guitar after receiving a toy guitar for his seventh birthday. Vaughan began playing in his first band, The Chantones, in 1965. Soon, he was performing in nightclubs and let his music career take precedence over his dishwashing job at a local restaurant as well as his school work. Vaughan became very affected by the music of Jimi Hendrix, Otis Rush, and Muddy Waters.

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Soon, he was recruited into the band Cast of Thousands, which appeared on a Dallas compilation album called A New Hi. He also formed his own band called Blackbird.

In 1971, Vaughan followed his brother to Austin, Texas. He loved the music scene there, feeling it allowed for more freedom. Vaughan reformed his band as Krackerjack, and not long after became a part of the group Nightcrawlers. After performing in a few more bands as a result of permutations of Austin musicians, Vaughan formed the group Triple Threat, later renamed Double Trouble. By this time, Vaughan had taken on the responsibility of lead vocals, and the Austin audience loved it. (Image source)

After developing their Texas fanbase, rocker Mick Jagger took notice and invited them to play at a private party in New York City. Before long, they were at Montreux Blues & Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

When David Bowie asked them to appear on his next album, their career took on a whole new direction. They signed a deal with Epic Records, and their record, Texas Flood (1983) reached no. 38 on the charts.

Double Trouble continued to climb the charts with Couldn't Stand the Weather (1984), Live Alive (1985), and Soul to Soul (1985).

In 1984, Vaughan was recognized as Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year by the National Blues Foundation Awards.

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The end of the 1980s saw Vaughan check himself into rehab for alcohol and drug abuse, and then begin to perform again. He released a few hits including "Wall of Denial" and "Tight Rope" on the album Step (1989), which earned a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

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Not long after recording an album with his brother called Family Style (1990), Vaughan boarded a helicopter after playing a gig in East Troy, Wisconsin that was bound for Chicago. The helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff, with no survivors.

Since his death, sales of Vaughan's recordings have more than matched sales during his lifetime.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Friday, 03 October 2014
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