Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the death of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. Recently inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his band, Double Trouble, Vaughan gained notoriety in the ‘80s for ushering in a blues resurrection with original classics like “Pride and Joy” and “The Sky is Crying.” His white-knuckled solo on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” also exposed his talents to the world of pop, though Vaughan was traditionally trained by mentor—and blues legend in his own right—Albert King. The two first jammed together in 1977 at Antone’s club in Austin, Texas, and things famously took off from there.
Vaughan had just played with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin on August 27, 1990 when he boarded a helicopter headed for Chicago. Three members of Clapton’s entourage and Vaughan were killed instantly when the plane crashed in the early morning. His career was on fire at the time of his unfortunate death—ablaze with consistent touring, a new fiancée, and steady sobriety after years of struggling with substance abuse. Though he was taken from the world fartoo soon, Vaughan’s influence continues to be felt in blues and rock music, inspiring the likes of John Mayer, Gary Clark, Jr., and many other modern guitarists.
Check out this chilling recording of a Robert Johnson blues standard, Vaughan’s last performance at Alpine, performed over 25 years ago today: