Vaughan died in a helicopter crash near East Troy, Wisconsin following a concert at the Alpine Valley Music Theater where earlier in the evening he appeared with Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and his older brother Jimmie Vaughan. The idea that Clapton gave up his seat in the ill fated helicopter is a myth. Eric explains in his autobiography there were 4 copters chartered to fly musicians back to Chicago. Stevie was on board a different helicopter with 2 of Eric's crew. (thanks, Lou - Scranton, PA)
Vaughan attracted attention from David Bowie and Jackson Browne, and he played on albums with both. Bowie featured Vaughan on his Let's Dance
album in the songs "Let's Dance
" and "China Girl
Bowie first saw Vaughan at the Montreux Jazz Festival where initially a few members of the audience, who disliked his hard blues sound booed Vaughan, though most of the crowd cheered him, as can be witnessed in the Live At Montreux DVD.
Stevie had a distinct sound of his own which was partly based on using heavy 13-gauge strings. Vaughan's sound and playing style, which often features simultaneous lead and rhythm parts, also draws frequent comparisons to that of Jimi Hendrix; Vaughan covered several Hendrix tunes on his studio albums and in performance.
As well as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan's blues playing style was strongly influenced by Albert King who dubbed himself Stevie's "Godfather."
Drug addiction and alcoholism took a toll on Vaughan in the mid-1980s, and he collapsed while on tour in 1986. He checked into rehab in Georgia later that year. He managed to recover from his addictions and became a teetotaler. (thanks, James - Bransgore, England, for above 5)
His older brother Jimmie inspired him to pick up a guitar. Stevie Ray recorded his 1990 Brother To Brother album with Jimmie.
He formed the band Triple Threat in 1975 with vocalist Lou Ann Barton, bassist Jackie Newhouse and drummer Chris Layton. When Barton left in 1978, Vaughan took over vocals and the band was renamed "Double Trouble." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. His brother, Jimmy Vaughan, accepted on his behalf, saying, "He had enthusiasm for everything. That is why people loved his music."