Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble played their way to becoming famous worldwide until Stevie Ray’s untimely death in 1990. Since then, several albums have been released or re-released that have also been great hits. The band, Double Trouble, was named after Stevie Ray’s favorite Otis Rush song by that name and was formed in 1979.
When the lead vocalist left the band, Stevie Ray reformed Double Trouble into a three-man group in 1981. He chose Chris Clayton as his drummer and Tommy Shannon on bass for the newly formed group. Around this time, Stevie Ray began to use his middle name along with his first name, and his voice and lead guitar were the center of Double Trouble.
Good fortune came to Double Trouble when music producer Jerry Wexler flew to Texas to see what this group was doing that people were talking about. He was so impressed that he booked the group for the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland which brought even better luck to Stevie Ray. It was there that David Bowie heard him and requested that Stevie Ray play lead guitar on his new album. Bowie also wanted Stevie Ray to accompany him on a world tour. The album did get cut, but Stevie Ray passed up the world tour to pursue greater ventures with his band, Double Trouble. Stevie Ray and Double Trouble traveled to Austin, where it all began, to perform in the bars again.
Another performer, Jackson Browne, heard Stevie Ray and Double Trouble at Montreux and decided to offer his recording studio so that the group could cut a record and hopefully become well enough known to be offered a contract. The effort was successful, and the talent scout, John Hammend, Sr. arranged a deal for Double Trouble with Epic.
Texas Flood, the group’s first album, was a result of many years of hard work and of refining the sound that Stevie Ray wanted. His passionate playing was a combination of many genres that helped Double Trouble move forward to make Texas Flood a great success. It made it to the charts, and Stevie Ray was nominated for Grammies in two separate areas.
Double Trouble’s next album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, was released in 1984, accompanied by a video that was played on MTV. The album made platinum and Stevie Ray stepped into following Jimi Hendrix and his style of guitar even more. The song, “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” was a Hendrix song that Stevie Ray often performed at concerts.
The group added another member to Double Trouble in 1985, organist Reese Wynans just in time for their next album, Soul to Soul. This album, full of an apparent Jimi Hendrix touch by Stevie Ray, made it to gold.
Unfortunately, the stress of touring and performing caused Stevie Ray to go without sleep, and he became addicted to cocaine until he fell on stage while performing in Europe. That, along with his drinking problem, was taking a toll on Stevie Ray’s performance. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and went to rehabilitation.
In 1988, Stevie Ray’s playing, singing, and planning for Triple Threat was better than ever without the drugs and alcohol. They recorded their biggest hit yet – In Step which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Recording. Double Trouble also played at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Double Trouble’s last performance was in 1990 while the band was on an American headlining tour. After playing in East Troy, Wisconsin, Stevie Ray was killed in a helicopter crash with four other passengers when he was only a young 35 years old.