Inspired by his older brother Jimmie, Stevie Ray started playing guitar at an early age. He proved to be very talented and soon played in a number of local bands. In 1972 he stopped studying to fully concentrate on the music. Stevie Ray did not know what he wanted for career; By itself, music was his only way out. That's why he moved to Austin, Texas and became a professional artist.
In the early 1970s, Stevie Ray Vaughan performed with Doyle Bramhall in The Nightcrawlers. After that he played for a number of years in "The Cobras".
This band was quite popular in Austin. In 1976 he formed a band called "Triple Threat Revue". In 1979-1980 the band changed its name and they called it Double Trouble.
In 1982, Stevie Ray was noticed at the Montreux Jazz Festival by David Bowie. He was so impressed that he was working with him for his new cd Let's Dance. In response to the same performance, Jackson Browne offered his recording studio where the first Double Trouble (Texas Flood) album was recorded. Following was a contract for Stevie Ray and his band with Epic Records.
For the band this was the beginning of an international career. Their album Texas Flood was released in 1983 and they were also able to perform in the famous television show Austin City Limits for the first time. After that, it became increasingly prosperous with Double Trouble. The group recorded a new album about every year (including, Couldn't Stand The Weather, Live Alive and Soul to Soul).
Over the years, Stevie Ray was addicted to liquor and drugs.
In 1986, he collapsed during a tour. He was admitted to a clinic later that year, where he was able to overcome both of his addictions.
In 1989 they recorded the album In Step . With this lp, Stevie won a prestigious Grammy Award that same year. He was once again invited to appear in the Austin City Limits television program. The two performances for this program were later released on video under the name of Live from Austin Texas . In 1990 he and his brother Jimmie recorded a CD called Family Style.
This was one of the last highlights in his life. He died in the afternoon (12h50) of August 27, 1990 during a tragic helicopter accident. He had performed that night at the Alpine Valley Festival, along with stars such as Robert Cray, Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton. Stevie Ray Vaughan was only 35 years old.
In 1991 Ann Richards, Texas's former governor, declared October 3 to "Stevie Ray Vaughan Day". A year later in 1992, guitar manufacturer Fenderreleased the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster. Before his death, Stevie had designed this guitar together with Fender.
In 1994, a statue for the memory of Stevie Ray was revealed on the shore of Lake Austin. He was also posthumously recorded in the Musicians Hall of Famein 2014.
Stevie Ray Vaughan has greatly contributed to the popularity of the Ibanez Tube Screamer. An overdrive pedal that combines a transparent overdrive with a hefty mid-boost. It is often claimed that his sound was achieved by a Tube Screamer of the TS-808 type. In reality, he mainly used the TS-9 and later the TS-10, which gave slightly less mid-boost.
He also stuck a piece of tape on the speaker cloth of his guitar amps in front of the center of the speakers to slightly dampen the ray with the meanest treble.
Stevie Ray Vaughan played on exceptionally thick sets of strings, the thinnest of which was 0.013 inch. (0.009, 0.010 and 0.011 inch are the usual thicknesses for the thinnest strings on electric guitars).
Texas Flood (1983)
Couldn't Stand the Weather (1984)
Soul to Soul (1985)
In Step (1989)
Family Style (with Jimmie Vaughan) (1990)
The Sky Is Crying (1991)