Music News

Happy Birthday, Stevie Ray Vaughan!

In Guitar Center and Sam Ash guitar departments across the country, myriad axe-playing stereotypes kick tires and waste time. A rocker girlfriend looking bored as hell while her boyfriend finds new ways to blow his freshly printed paycheck is a familiar sight. There are also the metal guys chugging out riffs on pointy guitars next to old white guys trying their hardest to sound like dead black guys on vintage guitars.

These days, you're almost guaranteed to hear someone sounding out the hook to "Sweet Child O' Mine" through an amp turned up way too loud. While all of these things are potentially present, there is a stereotype that has become an absolute constant amongst the menagerie of the guitar shop zoo, and that is the Stevie Ray Vaughan super-fan.

Today we would be celebrating Stevie's 57th birthday, however a freak

helicopter accident following a performance in Wisconsin ended his life

in 1990 at the age of 36. Stevie was arguably the most influential white

blues guitarist since Eric Clapton, and thus he has a league of fans remembering him today.

SRV fans are in your town, they look like the average middle-class dude in

your high school English class, and they have an uncanny obsession with

SRV. John Mayer would be the most famous example of the SRV super-fan,

having the following to say about the man:

Oddly enough, the pride of Texas found his big break in the form of David Bowie, who had caught Stevie and his band Double Trouble at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The Thin White Duke asked Stevie to play guitar on 1983's Let's Dance, and the burning bluesy solo from the title track would serve as the world's introduction to Stevie. Fortunately for SRV, management politics got in the way of his joining David's touring band and the wheels were now in motion for Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble to gain a proper record deal and in turn make there way into the hearts of FM radio, heavy MTV airplay, and tours opening for massive acts like Men at Work and the Police. 

It is important to note that SRV put bare-bones blues back into the top 40 when radio was catering mostly to synths and drum machines, and blues music was facing an extremely hard time. Stevie played with such an incredible level of intensity and compulsion that his playing always sounded as if it was the last time he would pick up the guitar. The man's influence is still as present today as it was in the 80's, with new SRV style prodigies making small waves in the guitar community every few years and his albums functioning as a gateway drug to blues music for new generations of guitarists. 

Here are a few choice Stevie moments to help you remember the humble hero from Texas who helped keep a genre of music alive. These are all live performances as we feel it is the only way to really appreciate Stevie Ray Vaughan and his other-worldly talents.

"Texas Flood" - Live and in charge!

"Pride and Joy" - Live at Montreux in 1985.

"Little Wing" (Hendrix Cover) - Stevie Ray was a massive Hendrix fan and his playing was the closest the world has ever seen to his late hero.

"Lenny" - This was Stevie's tribute to his wife of the same name, and a big fan favorite.

 "Love Struck Baby" into "Pride and Joy" - This is a rare performance video showcasing some of Stevie's more epic stage moves.

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David Von Bader