I hear a blues riff in the still of the night.
Is that you little boy blues?
Your cross was found on some faraway hill,
They say where wild flowers grow.
Are you up there somewhere playing your blues?
Oh Lord I think I know . . .
--- Joe Boy Cook (Stevie Ray's uncle)
Stephen "Stevie" Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American
blues-rock guitarist, whose broad appeal made him an influential electric blues guitarist. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Stevie Ray Vaughan #7 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, and Classic Rock Magazine ranked him #3 in their list of the 100 Wildest Guitar Heroes in 2007.
On August 25 and August 26, 1990, Vaughan and Double Trouble finished the summer portion of the In Step Tour with shows at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, just outside of East Troy, Wisconsin. The show also featured The Robert Cray Band (with the Memphis Horns, Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love) and Eric Clapton, who played the closing set, then brought all the musicians back onstage for an encore jam.
Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton later recalled his last conversation with Vaughan, and remembered Vaughan saying backstage that he had to call his girlfriend, Janna Lapidus, before heading out the door to board a helicopter for the flight back to Chicago, Illinois, where Lapidus was staying. (The helicopters had been booked by Double Trouble's tour manager Skip Rickert through Omni Flights.)
The musicians had expected a long bus ride back to Chicago. However, Vaughan was informed by a member of Clapton's crew that three seats were open on one of the helicopters returning to Chicago with Clapton's crew, enough for Vaughan, his brother Jimmie, and Jimmie's wife Connie. It turned out there was only one seat left;
Vaughan requested it from his brother, who obliged. At 12:44 a.m. pilot Jeffrey Browne guided the helicopter off the ground. Shortly after takeoff the helicopter crashed into a ski slope and all five on board were killed. Although the crash occurred only 0.6 miles from the takeoff point, it went unnoticed by those at the concert site.
The search for the wreckage began at 5:00 a.m., finally being located two hours later with the help of its locator beacon. The cause of the crash was believed to have been pilot error.
There will never be another like Stevie Ray so let's rock out tonight with one of our favorite videos of SRV: