An investigation concluded that the cause was pilot error, while attempting a barrel roll, and Vaughan's family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Omniflight Helicopters, which was settled out of court. In , David Fricke of Rolling Stone ranked him the seventh greatest guitarist of all time. Stevie's father, Jimmie Lee Vaughan, was born on September 6, Navy during World War II. Big Jim secured a job as an asbestos worker, an occupation that involved rigorous manual effort.
The family moved frequently, living in other states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma before ultimately moving to the Oak Cliff section of Dallas.
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A shy and insecure boy, Vaughan was deeply affected by his childhood experiences. His father struggled with alcohol abuse, and often terrorised his family and friends with his bad temper. In later years, Vaughan recalled that he had been a victim of his father's violence. In the early s, Vaughan's admiration for his brother Jimmie resulted in him trying different instruments such as the drums and saxophone. Soon after he acquired the electric guitar, Vaughan joined his first band, the Chantones, in After falling into a barrel of grease, he grew tired of the job and quit to devote his life to a music career.
Mike Steinbach, the group's drummer, commented: "The kid was fourteen. We auditioned him on 'Jeff's Boogie,' really fast instrumental guitar, and he played it note for note. Fascinated by the skillful playing, which he described as "incredible even then", Shannon borrowed a bass guitar and the two jammed.
In February , Vaughan joined a band called Liberation, which was a nine-piece group with a horn section. Having spent the past month briefly playing bass with Jimmie in Texas Storm, he had originally auditioned as bassist. Impressed by Vaughan's guitar playing, Scott Phares, the group's original guitarist, modestly became the bassist.
Phares later described the performance: "they tore the house down. It was awesome. It was one of those magical evenings. Stevie fit in like a glove on a hand. Attending Justin F. Kimball High School during the early s, Vaughan's late-night shows contributed to his neglect in his studies, including music theory; he would often sleep during class.
In September , Vaughan made his first studio recordings with the band Cast of Thousands, which included future actor Stephen Tobolowsky. After growing tired of the Dallas music scene, he dropped out of school and moved with the band to Austin, Texas , which had more liberal and tolerant audiences.
Blackbird played at several clubs in Austin and opened shows for bands such as Sugarloaf , Wishbone Ash , and Zephyr , but could not maintain a consistent lineup. In March , Vaughan joined Marc Benno 's band, the Nightcrawlers, after meeting Benno at a jam session years before. Playing guitar on both tracks, the single was released on February 7, Vaughan toured with the Cobras during much of , but near the end of September, after they decided to strive for a mainstream musical direction, he left the band and formed Triple Threat Revue, which included singer Lou Ann Barton , bassist W.
Clark , and drummer Fredde Pharaoh. The thirty-minute audio recording marks the only known studio recording of the band. In mid-May , Clark left to form his own group and Vaughan renamed the band Double Trouble , taken from the title of an Otis Rush song. Layton, who had recently parted ways with Greezy Wheels , was taught by Vaughan to play a shuffle rhythm. When Vaughan offered Layton the position, he agreed.
The marriage was to last for six and a half years. In early October , Vaughan and Double Trouble earned a frequent residency performing at one of Austin's most popular nightspots, the Rome Inn. Shannon, who was playing with Alan Haynes at the time, participated in a jam session with Vaughan and Layton halfway through their set. Shannon later commented: "I went down there that night, and I'll never forget this: it was like, when I walked in the door and I heard them playing, it was like a revelation.
I didn't try to sneak around and hide it from the bass player [Jackie Newhouse]—I didn't know if he was listening or not. I just really wanted to be in that band. I sat in that night and it sounded great. On December 5, , while Vaughan was in a dressing room before a performance in Houston, an off-duty police officer arrested him after witnessing his usage of cocaine near an open window.
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During the final court date, on April 17, , Vaughan was sentenced with two years' probation and was prohibited from leaving Texas. Although popular in Texas at the time, Double Trouble failed to gain national attention. The group's luck progressed when record producer Jerry Wexler recommended them to Claude Nobs , organizer of the Montreux Jazz Festival.
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He insisted the festival's blues night would be great with Vaughan, whom he called "a jewel, one of those rarities who comes along once in a lifetime", and Nobs agreed to book Double Trouble on July Vaughan opened with a medley arrangement of Freddie King 's song " Hide Away " and his own fast instrumental composition, " Rude Mood ". The set ended with boos from the audience. He seemed to come out of nowhere, a Zorro-type figure in a riverboat gambler's hat, roaring into the '82 Montreux festival with a '59 Stratocaster at his hip and two flame-throwing sidekicks he called Double Trouble.
He had no album, no record contract, no name, but he reduced the stage to a pile of smoking cinders and, afterward, everyone wanted to know who he was. According to road manager Don Opperman: "the way I remember it, the 'ooos' and the 'boos' were mixed together, but Stevie was pretty disappointed.
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Stevie [had] just handed me his guitar and walked off stage, and I'm like, 'are you coming back? He went back to the dressing room with his head in his hands. I went back there finally, and that was the end of the show. It was just a few people sitting right up front. The room there was built for acoustic jazz.
When five or six people boo, wow, it sounds like the whole world hates you. They thought we were too loud, but shoot, I had four army blankets folded over my amp, and the volume level was on 2. I'm used to playin' on 10! On the following night, Double Trouble was booked in the lounge of the Montreux Casino , with Jackson Browne in attendance.
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Browne jammed with Double Trouble until the early morning hours and offered them free use of his personal recording studio in downtown Los Angeles. In late November the band accepted his offer and recorded ten songs in two days. Vaughan recalled: "we changed the name of the place in the video. Four years ago I got married in a club where we used to play all the time called the Rome Inn. When they closed it down, the owner gave me the sign, so in the video we put that up behind me on the stage. With the success of Let's Dance , Bowie requested Vaughan as the featured instrumentalist for the upcoming Serious Moonlight Tour , realizing that he was an essential aspect of the album's groundbreaking success.
It was kind of risky, but I really didn't need all the headaches.
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After acquiring the recordings from Browne's studio, Double Trouble began assembling the material for a full-length LP. The album, Texas Flood , opens with the track "Love Struck Baby", which was written for Lenny on their "love-struck day". On June 16, Vaughan gave a performance at Tango nightclub in Dallas, which celebrated the album's release. All the radio station personalities, DJs, program directors, all the retail record store owners and the important managers, press, all the executives from New York came down—about seven hundred people.
We had the Tango party—it was hot. It was the ticket. It happened Thursday night at Tango.
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The adrenalin must have been gushing through the musicians' veins as they performed with rare finesse and skill. We just went out and played, and it fit like a glove. The sound rang through those big coliseums like a monster. People were going crazy, and they had no idea who we were! Variety wrote that their ninety-minute set at the Beacon "left no doubt that this young Texas musician is indeed the 'guitar hero of the present era.
He was a feedback person. Layton remembers the performance: " We ended it and [Hammond] said; 'that's the best that song will ever sound,' and we went; 'we haven't even got sounds, have we? That's the best you'll ever do that song.
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