A few days before the 20th death anniversary, Aug 27th, of Stevie Ray Vaughan I was channel surfing on TV. Lo and behold I came upon a great film clip of Stevie Ray Vaughan belting out the blues like no other guitarist. It made me realize why they showed it. It’s been two decades now since his untimely passing. All these great musicians are no longer with us. One of Vaughan’s music idols will soon have his 40th memorial anniversary. Whenever I hear of a musician’s passing I think of Billy Joel’s song “Only The Good Die Young”.
My Fondest Memories of SRV
It started oddly enough with a song called “Tuff Enuff” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. I absolutely loved this song when it was popular in the mid 80s. However, one of the band members, Jimmie Vaughan, was the superb guitarist on this recording. This eventually led to my introduction, musically speaking, of his equally gifted younger brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan. SRV, the famous initials Stevie is sometimes known by, would also be the featured guitarist on a very well known hit in the 80s. This was one of my favorite songs from that era titled “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie.
However, my favorite recording of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s is “Crossfire.” It’s one of his last before he was killed in a helicopter crash outside a venue he’d just performed at. He was en route to his last performance in Chicago to play with other legendary guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy (who was one of his idols), Robert Cray and his brother Jimmie. You can truly hear him play the blues on “Crossfire,” Listen to him on his ever loving Fender Stratocaster electric guitar or sometimes known as the “Strat”. Now that is music getting into your soul right there.
This was a number one song for SRV on the Billboard Rock chart. I remembered hearing it on the rock radio stations in Chicago all the time. His brilliant covers by his childhood idol, Jimi Hendrix, are considered classics too such as “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and “Little Wing”. Anyone who loves Jimi Hendrix is a fan of mine too. Vaughan certainly was greatly influenced by Hendrix’s mastery not only of rock, but of the blues and jazz genres. Obviously Stevie Ray Vaughan is known primarily for blues, he was also an admirer of the jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell.
The song that defines Vaughan most of all is “Pride and Joy”. It was from the debut album by SRV and his band, Double Trouble back in 1983. Once again this is another one of my favorites. It’s been featured on television commercials and now in the “Guitar Hero III” video game. Recently there was an online article commemorating Stevie Ray Vaughan’s death with the headline ‘Still Giving Us the Blues”. Yes, I get blue hearing Stevie, but it’s also for his exceptional and masterful guitar skills. Thankfully his music still lives on. One recent comment on YouTube said it best about Stevie Ray Vaughan’s acoustic rendition of “Pride and Joy” with “Now that is music. God Bless Stevie.”
Stevie Ray Vaughan Images, Google
Tuff Enuff by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, iLike
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Wikipedia
CrossFire by Stevie Ray Vaughan, iLike
mikka1963, Stevie Ray Vaughan – Pride and Joy, YouTube
Michael Cerkas, “20 Years Later: Stevie Ray Vaughan still giving us the Blues”, Huliq