Stevie Ray VaughanStevie Ray Vaughan was born on 03/10/1954 in Dallas, Texas. Stevie would be inspired by his older brother Jimmie to try various different instruments such as the drums and saxophone. In 1961, Stevie received his first guitar for his seventh birthday. He taught himself how to play by ear. He would listen to artists such as Albert King, Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, Kenny Burrell, Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack. In 1963, Stevie received his first electric guitar, a Gibson ES-125T that his brother used to own.
In 1965, Stevie joined his first band called the Chantones. He would leave the band shortly after their first gig and join the Brooklyn Underground who played professionally. At the age of 16, his brother Jimmie left home. Stevie would take a job at a hamburger stand, but grew tired of the job and quit to pursue music.
In 1969, Stevie left the Brooklyn Underground and joined the band Southern Distributor. Stevie wanted to add blues music to the band's repertoire but they disagreed as they felt it was not going to help them earn a living. The band soon split up. Later in 1969, bassist Tommy Shannon was impressed after spotted Vaughan playing the guitar and within a few years, they formed the band Krackerjack.
In 1970, Vaughan joined the nine-piece band Liberation. He had spent the previous month playing bass for his brother Jimmie in Texas Storm. During 1970, they performed at the Adolphus Hotel, Dallas after ZZ Top asked them to perform. Vaughan would sit in with ZZ Top during the gig. Also in 1970, Vaughan made his first recordings when he played with the band Cast of Thousands on two songs for a compilation album.
In 1971, Vaughan formed his own band Blackbird. He dropped out of school and moved with the band to Austin, Texas. Blackbird would play at several clubs and open for bands such as Sugarloaf, Wishbone Ash and Zephyr.
In 1972, Vaughan left Blackbird and joined the band Krackerjack with Shannon. He would perform with them for less than three months.
In 1973, Vaughan joined Marc Benno's band the Nightcrawlers. The band also featured vocalist Doyle Bramhall who had Vaughan when he was 12. Also in 1973, the Nightcrawlers recorded an album at Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood for A&M Records. The album was rejected by A&M but was the first to feature songs written by Vaughan. The Nightcrawlers moved back to Austin without Benno.
In 1975, Vaughan joined the six-piece band Paul Ray and the Cobras. He spent the next two and half years performing weekly at the Soap Creek Saloon and Antone's in Austin. He would jam with artists such as Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Albert King.
In 1977, Paul Ray and the Cobras released the single "Other Days" with Vaughan on guitar. In late 1977, Vaughan left the band after they wanted to pursue a more mainstream style. He formed the band Triple Threat Revue with Lou Ann Barton, W. C. Clark and Fredde Pharaoh.
In 1978, Triple Threat Revue recorded four songs in Austin. In the same year, Vaughan recorded an album that wasn't released that would be known as "First Unreleased Album 1978". In May, Clark left the band and Vaughan renamed the group Double Trouble. He named the band after an Otis Rush song. They recruited Jackie Newhouse on bass. In July, Pharaoh left the band and was replaced by Jack Moore. Moore left three months later and was replaced by Chris Layton. The band got a residency at the Rome Inn, Austin.
In 1979, Barton left the band. Vaughan signed manager Chesley Millikin and road manager Robert "Cutter" Brandenburg. Brandenburg would encourage Vaughan to use his middle name on stage. Also in 1979, Vaughan got married to Lenora Bailey who was known as Lenny.
In 1980, bassist Tommy Shannon watched a Double Trouble performance and jammed with Vaughan and Layton halfway through the set. Three months later Vaughan recruited Shannon into the band to become a three piece with him and Layton. Also in 1980, Vaughan was sentenced to two years of probation after being witnessed using cocaine in December 1979. He had been struggling with substance abuse. He had started drinking at the age of six when he used to steal his father's drinks. Vaughan had been taking cocaine since performing with the Cobras in 1975.
In 1982, Double Trouble played at Montreux Festival. The performance impressed many there but there was some booing in the crowd as they felt the music was too loud. The next night, Double Trouble played at the Montreux Casino. Jackson Browne watched the show and jammed with the band that evening. He offered the band use of his recording studio in Los Angeles. In November, the band recorded ten songs in two days at the Browne's studio. Whilst in the studio, David Bowie, who had met Vaughan at Montreux, called him to invite him to record for his next album.
In 1983, Bowie released the album "Let's Dance" which featured Vaughan playing the guitar on six tracks. Gregg Geller, vice president of A&R at Epic Records signed Double Trouble on the recommendation of producer John Hammond. Epic financed the band to record a video for the song "Love Struck Baby". Bowie requested Vaughan join his Serious Moonlight Tour. Vaughan pulled out of rehearsals for the tour when negotiations for his performance fee failed. In June, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released the album "Texas Flood". It reached a peak of 38 on the US Charts. Vaughan and the band went on a short tour of Europe and opened for The Moody Blues on their return to the US.
In 1984, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released the album "Couldn't Stand the Weather". They had recorded it at the Power Station, New York. The album would feature a guest appearance by Stevie's brother Jimmie on a cover of Guitar Slim's song "The Things That I Used to Do". The album peaked at number 31 and spent 38 weeks on the US chart. In October, Vaughan headlined at Carnegie Hall in a concert which included many guest musician and had a large ensemble for the second half performance. The album was later released as a live album. Vaughan and Double Trouble would tour Australia, New Zealand, the US and Japan during the year.
In 1985, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released the album "Soul to Soul". During the recording, Vaughan had trouble focusing due to his alcohol and drug use. He recruited Reese Wynans to record keyboards on the album, who would then join the band. The album peaked at number 34 on the US chart.
In 1986, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released the live album "Live Alive". It was recorded during three live appearances in Austin and Dallas. Whilst touring in Europe, Vaughan became ill after a performance in Ludwigshafen, Germany. He was suffering from near-death dehydration. Vaughan checked into The London Clinic and was told he was a month away from death. Ater a week in London, he went to Peachford Hospital, Atlanta where he spent four weeks in rehab. In November, he came out of rehab and went on back on tour sober.
In 1988, Vaughan and Double Trouble were the opening act for Robert Plant. The band toured Europe, which would be the last time Vaughan played there.
In 1989, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released the album "In Step". It had been put on hold till Vaughan had his divorce to Lenora "Lenny" Darlene Bailey become final. Just before the album production was finished, Vaughan and Double Trouble appeared at George H. W. Bush presidential inaugural party in Washington, D. C. The album peaked at number 33 on the US Chart and won a Grammy Award. It included Vaughan's only number one single "Crossfire".
On 26/08/1990, Vaughan performed two shows with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, Wisconsin. After the show, Vaughan along with three members of Eric Clapton's personnel Bobby Brooks, Nigel Browne and Colin Smythe boarded a helicopter to take them to Chicago. In foggy conditions, the helicopter collided with a hill and everyone on the helicopter was instantly killed.
In 1991, Texas governor Ann Richards declared a "Stevie Ray Vaughan Commemoration Day". In the same year, the posthumous Stevie Ray Vaughan album "Family Style" won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
In 1993, a statue of Vaughan was unveiled on Auditorium Shores in Austin.
In 1994, a "Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Run for Recovery" event was held in Dallas as a benefit for the Ethel Daniels Foundation who help people recover from alcoholism and drug addiction.
In 2000, Vaughan was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
In 2005, the Stevie Ray Vaughan Scholarship was established.
In 2015, Vaughan was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Double Trouble.
In his career, Vaughan won five W. C. Handy Awards.