Favorite Guitar Solos: Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Leave My Girl Alone," Austin City Limits, 1989

Stevie Ray Vaughan, the guitarist who has had the greatest influence on me as a player, died 23 years ago today on August 27, 1990.

Basically, everything changed for the very young version of me the first time I saw him play live. 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 six or seven years ago, when I decided I wasn't letting enough new influences into my playing, wasn't giving other — you know, living — guitarists a chance to wow me or have that same, life-changing effect on me. Plus I started to feel weird telling people that my favorite guitarist was a guy who'd been dead for 17 years.

But I've been feeling a little guilty about that decision lately, and I've been intentionally going back for my daily doses of SRV's music, 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 (or is it old?) eye, one thing hasn't changed: my favorite favorite SRV performance. It is, and always has been, his live 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 awesome 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). Check it out below.

Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World,.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.