The tragedy of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s early death still resonates. (He died in a helicopter crash in 1990.) But the music Stevie left to us has been so enduring and vital that it’s sometimes difficult to reconcile with the fact that he was only 35 years old when he died. The Texas legend was a tour de force on the guitar–a player who swallowed seemingly every influence available before firing out his own huge singular sound.
A sort of genius amalgam of blues and very electrified rock and roll, Stevie Ray Vaughan was ranked by Rolling Stone as the 12th greatest guitarist of all time. Wikipedia quotes Guitar World‘s Chris Gill’s appropriately Texas-inflected description of the Stevie Ray Vaughan sound: “Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tone was as dry as a San Antonio summer and as sparkling clean as a Dallas debutante.”