Favorite Guitar Solos: Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Leave My Girl Alone," Austin City Limits, 1989
Stevie Ray Vaughan at Austin City Limits, 1989.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, the guitarist who has had the greatest influence on me as a player, died 21 years ago today on August 27, 1990.
Basically, everything changed for the very young version of me the first time I saw him play. It was March 1984 at Kean College in Union, New Jersey. After that night, I tore up, stomped on and burned the book on what I thought being a blues guitarist was all about -- and started all over again.
For me, that same excitement about Vaughan lasted until about five or six years ago, when I decided I wasn't letting enough new influences in, wasn't giving other -- living -- guitarists a chance to wow me or have that same, life-changing effect on me. Plus it started to feel odd telling people that my favorite guitarist was a guy who'd been gone for 15 or 16 years.
But I've been feeling a little guilty about that decision lately, and I've been intentionally going back for my daily shots of SRV, discovering things I might've missed as a spindly kid. It's been a bit like getting reacquainted with an old friend.
But as I re-evaluate Vaughan's work with a new eye, one thing has stayed the same -- what I've always considered my favorite SRV performance. It's his rendition of Buddy Guy's "Leave My Girl Alone" as performed at Austin City Limits in 1989.
As I used to say 20 years ago, it's got everything that was great about SRV -- the intensity, the passion, the timing, the speed -- did I mention the intensity? Check out how he literally growls his way into the ridiculously awesome solo at 2:06.
See you tomorrow, SRV!
Damian Fanelli, the online managing editor at Guitar World, has performed around the world as a member of Mister Neutron, The Blue Meanies (the New York version) and/or The Gas House Gorillas. Although he likes his Les Paul, he feels it's time to buy a new one ... or at least a new old one. Update: He bought one -- found it in Virginia in early September!
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