Stephen Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in the 1980s. He is commonly referred to as one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
Vaughan was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He began playing guitar at the age of seven, inspired by his older brother Jimmie. He dropped out of high school in 1971 and moved to Austin the following year. He played gigs with numerous bands, earning a spot in Marc Benno’s band the Nightcrawlers and later with Denny Freeman in the Cobras, with whom he continued to work through late 1977. He then formed his own group Triple Threat Revue, but he renamed them Double Trouble after hiring drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon. He gained fame after his performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982, and his debut studio album Texas Flood charted at number 38 in 1983, a commercially successful release that sold over half a million copies. Vaughan headlined concert tours with Jeff Beck in 1989 and Joe Cocker in 1990. He died in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990, at the age of 35.
Vaughan received several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1983, readers of Guitar Player voted him Best New Talent and Best Electric Blues Guitar Player. In 1984, the Blues Foundation named him Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year, and in 1987, Performance Magazine honored him with Rhythm and Blues Act of the Year. He won six Grammy Awards and ten Austin Music Awards and was inducted posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014. Rolling Stone ranked him as the 12th greatest guitarist of all time. In 2015, Vaughan and Double Trouble were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.