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Subject: ARCHIVE: August 27, 1990 ~Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dallas-born musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues though the 1980, considered one of the great guitarist of all time, is killed in a helicopter crash as it lifts off from concert's end, killing Vaughan, 2 friends, and the pilot who was at fault. ...
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.
On Monday, 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. Afterwards they took off 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, which is 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 Smythe – were all killed. The helicopter was identified as being owned by Chicago-based company Omniflight Helicopters. Initial reports of the crash inaccurately claimed that Clapton had also been killed in the accident.
According to findings from an inquest conducted by the coroner's office in Elkhorn, all five victims were killed instantly.
The subsequent investigation determined the aircraft departed in foggy conditions with visibility reportedly under two miles according to a local forecast. The National Transportation Safety Board report stated: "As the third helicopter was departing, it remained at a lower altitude than the others, and the pilot turned southeasterly toward rising terrain. Subsequently, the helicopter crashed on hilly terrain about three-fifths of a mile from the takeoff point." Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records showed that Brown was qualified to fly by instruments in an airplane, but not in a helicopter. Toxicology tests performed on the victims revealed no traces of drugs or alcohol in their systems.
...His wooden casket quickly became adorned with bouquets of flowers. An estimated 3,000 mourners joined a procession led by a white hearse. Among those at the public ceremony were Jeff Healey, Charlie Sexton, ZZ Top, Colin James, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. Vaughan’s grave marker reads: "Thank you... for all the love you passed our way."
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