Whenever Stevie Ray Vaughan stepped onto the stage to rock his guitar in front of cheering fans wherever he went, many people compared him to his heroes such as Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, and Mick Jagger. For many, he was all these artists rolled into one. The Dallas native is an undisputed rock icon whose rise to fame in the late 1980s culminated in widespread fame and tragedy. At his peak, Vaughan brought to life the blues era in the ’80s. His unique, fiery, and eclectic guitar even caught the attention of David Bowie. David Bowie included Vaughan in his album “Let’s Dance.” Their work in the album gave them some commercial viability which led to a deal with epic records. At Epic Records, Vaughan and his bandmates had the chance to work with John Hammond, Sr, who was a legendary musician and producer. The coming together between Hammond and Vaughan resulted in Vaughan’s debut studio album, “Texas Flood,” which was released on 13th June 1983. More records and plenty of success followed, including an award by the National Blues Foundation, who named him The Entertainer of The Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year.
Despite the success, Vaughan’s personal life was in turmoil. His relationship with his wife fell apart, and he had to check into rehab after battling alcohol and drug addiction. The tragic death of Vaughan after a helicopter crash that killed everyone on board emphasized how much Vaughan was adored by millions of his fans worldwide. He was a leading light in American blues. In honor of his legacy, Texas Governor at the time proclaimed 3 October 1991 to be the “Stevie Ray Vaughan Day.” In 2019, a book titled “Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan” was released. The book, which Alan Paul co-authored, gives us insights into how his life was from the perspective of his close friends, family, girlfriends, and bandmates. However, what is the greatest song from this icon? Sit back and relax as we count down some of his greatest hits of all time.
10. Couldn’t Stand the Weather
Vaughan was a true guitar legend. His great control in fretting the guitar and muting any strings he wanted to at any time was unmatched. Add that to his passion and great intensity for every song he played, and you get someone who didn’t get as much recognition as he deserved. The track was released on 15th May 1984 by Epic Records from the album “Couldn’t Stand the Weather,” which was critically and commercially a success.
9. Cold Shot
Vaughan couldn’t live without his guitar. He was a great lyricist too. The sweet lyrics to this song go like, “Once a sweet thing, baby, Held that love in our hands.” “Cold Shot” was the 20th track in the album “Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were arguably the biggest names in blues music back in the ’80s. The song “Tightrope” is a depiction of Stevie Ray Vaughan at his absolute peak. People normally forget how good a singer Stevie Ray Vaughan was. However, in this song, he absolutely sings his heart out. He sings about his addiction struggles with an incredible groove and swagger.
7. Rude Mood
Vaughan is up there with the likes of Hendrix and Buchanan as the best blues artists to ever live. Apart from the great guitar playing in this track, the track has a fast intro. “Rude Mood” is the sixth song from his album “Texas Flood.”
6. Wall of Denial
“Wall of Denial” is the 7th track from Vaughan’s fourth studio album, “In Step.”The album has been rated A- by Robert Christgau, which signifies that it was a good record.
5. Little Wing
John Mayer once said that you could play with the same Stevie Ray Vaughan intensity, but only for about 20 seconds. Your arms will then cramp up, and you won’t achieve much. “Little Wing” is an instrumentation done by Stevie Ray Vaughan, which was recorded in 1984 and is contained in Vaughan’s posthumously released album, “The Sky Is Crying.”
4. Mary Had a Little Lamb
Vaughan’s debut studio album “Texas Flood” has often been hailed for its role in revitalizing blues. In 2021, the album was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its historical significance. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was the second track on side B of the album.
3. Texas Flood
You will appreciate watching how Vaughan expresses himself while playing this song. His passion for the guitar was unmatched. The song “Texas Flood” is contained in his debut studio album with the same name. The original version of the song was recorded by Larry Davis back in 1958 with Vaughan an enhanced guitar soloing which increased the song’s length while also showcasing his incredible guitar skills.
Vaughan wrote “Lenny” as a dedication to his beloved wife, Lenora. The song is played with a Stratocaster named “Lenny, “ gifted to Vaughan by his wife for his birthday. The song runs for about five minutes and will have you enjoy the blend of Vaughn’s solo runs and some jazz-inflected chords.
1. Pride and Joy
The number one song in our list of the greatest Stevie Ray Vaughan songs is an all-time classic, “Pride and Joy.” Vaughan recorded the song alongside his backup band, “Double Trouble.” Chris Layton, who was a drummer for the band, said that Vaughan wrote the rock song for his girlfriend. The song peaked at position 20 on Billboard Magazine’s Mainstream Rock Chart and is also one of the best blues songs ever..”