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Remembering Stevie Ray Vaughan: Texan, Austinite, Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer

By Elise Cardenas

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony aired on HBO last weekend and among the talented musicians inducted was Stevie Ray Vaughan. John Mayer and Austin native Gary Clark, Jr. teamed up with Jimmie Vaughan, Vaughan’s oldest brother, to perform a trio of songs in honor of the late Vaughan.

This August marks the 25th anniversary of his tragic death. Like many legends, he left too soon.

Vaughan grew up in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas. He began strumming the guitar early on following the lead of his brother Jimmie. By 1972, Vaughan dropped out of high school and moved to Austin to start concentrating on music.

After some struggle, the end of the 70s saw the birth of Double Trouble. In 1983 the group released their debut album Texas Flood featuring the classic blues single “Pride and Joy.”

Vaughan and Double Trouble found success in the coming years, including Grammy nominations and awards. They released their fourth and final studio album as a group in 1989 before Vaughan’s death.

The 35-year-old died in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990. Following a performance, he boarded a helicopter to Chicago that later crashed, killing everyone on board.

In his honor, Texas Governor Ann Richards declared October 3, 1991 “Stevie Ray Vaughan Day.” The city of Austin also paid tribute to Vaughan in 1994 with a memorial statue at Town Lake. The statue is now a recognizable symbol of Austin and a popular tourist attraction.

Rolling Stone named Vaughan number 12 on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists. Many artists today – like Mayer and Clark, Jr. – name Vaughan and his Stratocaster as their musical inspiration. His irreplaceable licks combining the blues and rock music brought him success and cemented his legacy.

In honor of Vaughan’s induction into the Hall of Fame, watch some of his greatest performances below (including one song he plays with the guitar behind his back).

“Pride and Joy” Live at 1985 Montreux Jazz Festival

“Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” Live at Austin City Limits 1989

“Texas Flood” Live at the Presidential Inaugural Concert 1989