I don’t think that anyone will dispute that Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the best guitarist that ever lived.
It is hard to believe he died 31 years ago. I can still vividly remember that August 27 ,1990. I had just finished an evening shift 15:00 to 23:00 pm, and decided to go for a drink in my favourite and local watering hole.
When I walked in I saw big men, covered in tattoos and piercings, with tears in their eyes. It wasn’t only them though everyone seemed to be sad, At first I thought that one of my drinking buddies had died. I hadn’t heard the news that day, They told me that SRV had died.
On August 27, 1990, at 12:50 a.m. (CDT), Vaughan and members of Eric Clapton’s touring entourage played an all-star encore jam session at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Alpine Valley Resort in East Troy, Wisconsin. They then left for Midway International Airport in Chicago in a Bell 206B helicopter, the most common way for acts to enter and exit the venue, as there is only one road in and out, heavily used by fans.
The helicopter crashed into a nearby ski hill shortly after takeoff. Vaughan and the four others on board—pilot Jeff Brown, agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and tour manager Colin Smyth. all died. The helicopter was identified as being owned by Chicago-based company Omniflight Helicopters. Initial reports of the crash claimed that Clapton had also been killed.
On that day the sky really was crying as were many of his fans, me included. We all knew that there would never be anyone like him again.
Sometimes something which looks very unfortunate and frustrating can actually be a blessing in disguise.
On 21 December 1988 Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, had a meeting which not go as scheduled. Holly Johnson and his manager were scheduled to arrive in New York for final negotiations about his break with Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Whatever he was doing in London ran late, so when they left for Heathrow, they hit rush hour traffic. Johnson’s ticket was for Pan Am 103, but when they reached Heathrow, they had missed the flight by about ten or fifteen minutes.
Word has it that Johnson was very sullen on the way back from the airport. When they finally reached his (or his manager’s) flat, he switched the TV on. The manager went in the kitchen to get a glass of water. When his manager returned, Johnson’s eyes were transfixed on the screen. There on the screen, was the flaming wreckage of a small town in Scotland, Lockerbie, and the remnants of Pan Am Flight 103.The flight had just been brought down by Lybian terrorists.
On August 26, 1990, Stevie Ray Vaughan performed two shows with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. After the shows some of the musicians boarded four Chicago-bound helicopters, which were waiting on a nearby golf course. Vaughan, along with three members of Eric Clapton’s entourage (agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and assistant tour manager Colin Smythe), boarded the third of the four helicopters—a Bell 206B Jet Ranger—flying to Meigs Field.
In Clapton: The Autobiography, Clapton explains that, contrary to rumors, his seat was not given to Vaughan, but three members of Clapton’s entourage were on board with Vaughan. According to a witness, there was haze and fog with patches of low clouds. The helicopter took off at about 12:50 am (CDT)on August 27 and, despite the conditions, turned left towards a 150-foot ski hill adjacent to the golf course. It collided with the hill approximately fifty feet from the summit.
All on board, including the pilot, Jeff Brown, were killed instantly.According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a veteran pilot for Alpine Valley suspected that Brown attempted to fly around the ski hill, but misjudged the location.The Civil Air Patrol was notified of the accident at 4:30 am, and located the crash site almost three hours later.
Although Clapton’s seat wasn’t given to Stevie Ray Vaughan. It is not that much of a stretch to believe that it easily could have been the case. It was a lucky escape for him either way, But he did lose several friends that day, including Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Clapton and Jimmie Vaughan were asked to identify the bodies. The Walworth County coroner conducted an autopsy and found that Vaughan suffered from multiple internal and skull injuries.Clapton issued a statement the next day, saying that the victims “were my companions, my associates and my friends. This is a tragic loss of some very special people. I will miss all of them very much.” A Coptic cross necklace, worn by Vaughan, was given to Jimmie Vaughan.
Have one great musician come up with a cool tune is one thing, but have another great musician enhancing that tune is just something else.
I don’t think there is any one on this planet who doesn’t know Michael Jackson’s classic album ‘Thriller”.
The 3rd single from that album was ‘Beat It’ it includes one of the finest guitar solo’s ever played, performed of course by Eddie van Halen, although his name is not on the credits.Not only was he not credited he also did it for free, well sort of, his fee was a Six pack of beer.
Quincy Jones the producer of the album(and so many others) approached Eddie van Halen to contribute to the song.Eddie agreed and following day he met with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson in the recording studio.
Michael Jackson went out to take a break from recording or 30 minutes or so. Eddie asked the sound engineer if he could make some changes. this took 10 minutes Eddie then improvised 2 solo’s both in one take, and one of the solo’s was finally used in the song. The rest as they say is Rock N Roll history.
“Wait a minute” I can hear you say “You mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bowie in the title” and you’re right I did. Stevie Ray Vaughan has nothing to do with Beat It or Michael Jackson.
He did however contributed on David Bowie’s classic Album “Let’s Dance” produced by Nile Rodgers Vaughan plays lead guitar on several tracks, including two of the album’s many mega-hits “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” and on the less-famous “Cat People (Putting Out the Fire).”
Vaughan met Bowie at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. After SRV’s performance, Bowie was so impressed that he later said, “He completely floored me. I probably hadn’t been so gung-ho about a guitar player since seeing Jeff Beck with his band the Tridents.”
Of Bowie, Vaughan said, “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t very familiar with David’s music when he asked me to play on the sessions. David and I talked for hours and hours about our music, about funky Texas blues and its roots. I was amazed at how interested he was.
It is just so sad to realize that 3 of these 4 musical giants have shed their mortal coil and are now gigging in that concert hall in the sky.
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Music plays an important role in my life, it always have and it always will. It is not only listening to music, playing it also often played a therapeutic role, especially during my teenage years.
My weapon of choice,Guitar. Below a picture of my very 1st guitar. Many more were to follow.
It was my neighbor and friend who got me first interested in playing guitar. He had started playing it and it sounded cool, so I thought give it a go.After a while we both got the hang of it and we would often duel, sitting on our windowsills.Me on the 1st floor of our apartment block and he on the 2nd floor.Credit goes to all other neighbors,no one ever complained.
However there were two guitarists that really ignited the spark of my inner guitarists, They were from the other scales of the jazz/blues/rock spectrum.
First Jim Croce, the combination of his lyrics and the acoustic(easy sounding but not that easy to copy) way of playing guitar touched my soul. I only discovered his music years after he died. This is my favourite Jim Croce track.
The second guitarist is in my opinion the best guitarist that ever roamed the planet. The second you hear him you know it’s him. I am referring to Stevie Ray Vaughan. 27 August 1990, a piece of me died too.Tin Pan Alley is 9 minutes and 9 seconds of musical heaven.
I was lucky when I grew up music channels still played music,which opened up a whole array of music from bands I wouldn’t have heard of before. Fondly I remember a show called “Monsters of Rock” it was either on Sky(which basically started of as a music channel) . The opening theme of the show introduced me to another great Guitarist, the legendary Joe Satriani, I never heard anyone play guitar like that it was mesmerizing.
Me and my best friend would watch Monster of Rock religiously and we would rate the bands who were on it and would even write reports on the best performances and the best( I know it’s sad) Below a clip of the show(And no neither me or my friend wrote in)
This concludes ‘ The music that shaped my life-part 2’ in part 3 I will be talking about a song that confirmed to me that the changes I made to my life were the right ones.I know I said this concludes part 2, but I couldn’t leave out one particular SRV song, that I played a lot on the day he died 27-Aug-1990, it is from his last album.