On April 18 in Cleveland, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble will finally get their due - induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The late Dallas guitarist and singer, who died in 1990 in a helicopter accident, became eligible along with his band to join the Hall in 2008.
During his short but indelible career, Vaughan helped redefine blues-rock and bring it back to the forefront of American popular music.
Although his rise to prominence in the music world gave him opportunities to record with the likes of Bob Dylan, David Bowie and James Brown among others, Vaughan's tunes with his own band and with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan, are what best define his legacy.
Here are 10 essential tracks from that body of work:
The guitar hooks you right away in the title track from Vaughan and Double Trouble's debut 1983 LP. Even though Vaughan has vocals about a minute in, his guitar answers and outmatches his voice after every line.
'Pride and Joy'
Obvious choice, as it's the song that's become synonymous with Vaughan to the ears of casual listeners. That doesn't discount its lightning-in-a-bottle quality: Written by the man himself, it encapsulates everything that he and his band offered to the pop world at large.
'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)'
While the title track of 1984's Couldn't Stand the Weather courted radio and MTV's attention to Vaughan, Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon tells us that the cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" stands out as the album's biggest highlight. "Stevie looked up to Jimi Hendrix. I think we did a good job of paying tribute to him without copying him."
'Look at Little Sister'
It was the second single from 1985's Soul to Soul, which was recorded in Dallas. Two things that elevate this version of the Hank Ballard tune are the tinkly honky-tonk piano and, of course, Vaughan's gritty vocal. Its soulful refrains can become lodged in the brain so easily.
The 1986 concert album Live Alive finally gave fans of Vaughan and Double Trouble a document of the band's stellar stage dynamic. We'd be fine naming any track from this LP or from Vaughan's two Austin City Limits appearances, but the Stevie Wonder cover stands out for the funkiness it retains.
'The House Is Rockin''
Vaughan wrote this rock 'n' roll party anthem with longtime friend Doyle Bramhall to kick off 1989's In Step, and it remains to this day one of his most memorable tunes.
While everyone recognizes Vaughan's ability to blend bluesy riffs and soulful vocals, we find his reflective instrumental tracks to be just as compelling. From the tender Texas Flood closer "Lenny" to In Step's "Riviera Paradise," his wailing guitar solos command you to kick back and vibe with him.
Shannon indicates that In Step was among his favorites of the group's albums because of its collaborative nature. He says the blues-rock banger "Crossfire" grew organically from one of his bass lines: "It became our biggest radio hit." Shannon also cherishes the outside-the-box arrangement of "Tightrope."
Dallas has a special place in its heart for Family Style, the 1990 album Vaughan did with his brother and personal idol, Jimmie. The genre-defying "Telephone Song" turned out to be the album's biggest hit, but we also love the instrumental "DFW" and the jubilant, Jimmie-led "Good Texan."
'The Sky Is Crying'
Recorded in 1985 but released as the title track of a posthumous album in 1991, Vaughan's version of the Elmore James blues staple goes long on the wailing guitar, and the vocals are downright grimy. It surely made fans feel the loss of Vaughan even more deeply than they already did.