Stevie Ray Vaughan, 20 Years On

I found out that the biggest problem that I had was self-centeredness and ego. That’s really what my addiction seems to boil down to. [chuckles] To keep that part of myself under control while everybody’s telling you how great you are is quite a task.

-Stevie Ray Vaughan, in the book Guitar World Presents Stevie Ray Vaughan: From the Pages of Guitar World Magazine

Friday, August 27, 2010 marked the twentieth anniversary of the untimely death of guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.

I don’t claim to be the biggest guitar fan in the world, but I do know that Vaughan is one of the absolute best, and most important, guitar players that ever lived.

Stevie Ray died in a helicopter crash at the age of 35. He had just performed with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and Jimmie Vaughan (his brother) at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin, when the helicopter he was in went down just after take-off around 1 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the helicopter went down 3/5 of a mile from its takeoff point. Not only did the accident occur extremely close to the venue, it is possible some in attendance were still making their way out.

From the book, Guitar Gods: The 25 Players Who Made Rock History, via Dan Forte’s liner notes in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Greatest Hits (Epic/Legacy, 1995):

When Eric Clapton himself first heard Stevie play, he said that no one he had ever heard commanded more respect: “Whoever this is, I’ve got to find out. Whoever this is is going to shake the world. It’s going to be a long time before anyone that brilliant will come along again.”

Photographer John R. Rogers took the following beautiful photo of the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue, on the banks of Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. Visit Rogers’ website here.

The following (6:35) video is from VH1 Legends.


3 thoughts on “Stevie Ray Vaughan, 20 Years On

  1. One of my all time favorite guitarists. I love the stories of him mending his fingertips with super glue, so he could keep on wailing. I don’t think anyone ever made Hendrix their own like him either. R.I.P.

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