30 Years Ago Today: Stevie Ray Vaughan Died in a Helicopter Crash
On the night of August 26, 1990, Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble performed at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Easter Troy, Wisconsin, along with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, and Stevie's brother, Jimmie. The final song that Stevie played was "Sweet Home Chicago" -- the city where he was supposed to fly to after the concert.
According to Guitarworld.com, after the show, four helicopters were to be used to fly the musicians and their crew back to Chicago. One helicopter was reserved for the Vaughan's (including Jimmie's wife). But members of Clapton’s entourage had already taken seats on the helicopter reserved for the Vaughans.
With one seat remaining, Stevie asked Jimmie if he could take the last spot in the helicopter, and he obliged.
Dense fog began to fill the area when they took off around 1:00 in the early morning of August 27th. The helicopter collided into a ski slope and all five aboard were killed instantly.
Stevie Ray Vaughan was only 35 years old.
The previous day, (36 days before his 36th birthday) Stevie Ray Vaughan allegedly had a nightmare about his own death. He told his band that he witnessed his own funeral and saw thousands of mourners. At his funeral on August 30th, nearly 5,000 people were in attendance.
Stevie Ray Vaughan won six Grammy Awards. He played lead guitar on James Brown's "Living in America" (featured in Rocky IV). He was also the lead guitarist on David Bowie's best-selling album, "Let's Dance."
Below is audio from Stevie Ray Vaughan's final concert at Alpine Valley: