Stevie Ray Vaughan released a series of hit songs in the early 80s. His incredible guitar talents put blues music front and center.
Unfortunately, a tragic helicopter crash in 1990 cut the musician’s life and career far too short. Thankfully, the recordings he left behind allow us to reflect on his life and talent.
Today, we’re looking back at seven of the greatest songs Stevie Ray Vaughan recorded.
Let’s get to it!
Great Songs From the Iconic Stevie Ray Vaughan
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Steve Ray Vaughan created intense blues rock songs that demand respect. His ability to make his instrument sing was unlike many others. In fact, some say he was one of the best of all time.
Stevie combined inspiration from classic guitarists like Albert King, Buddy Guy, and Albert Collins with new legends like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack. Thus, the result was a smooth and bluesy style with a thunderous tone. Then, to make it better, his playing looked and sounded effortless as he worked his way up and down the fretboard.
He released a series of albums from 1983 to 1985 with his trio Double Trouble. Unfortunately, none got higher than #31 on the charts. Finally, in the spring of 1990, Stevie recorded an album with his brother, Jimmie. Sadly, a helicopter crash took his life a month before its release.
The album Family Style entered the charts at #7, the highest of his albums.
In 1991, The Sky Is Crying was released, which contained a series of outtakes from the studio that Jimmie had compiled. This collection was a massive hit as it entered the charts at #10 and reached platinum status within three months of its release.
Stevie Ray Vaughan left behind a legacy of great blues rock anthems that continue to define the genre. Add a few of our favorites to your Blues Rock playlist, and get ready because they’re something special.
Need to add SRV to your collection? Get started with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: Greatest Hits.
#1 Pride and Joy
One of the top Stevie Ray Vaughan songs ever recorded is Pride and Joy, from Texas Flood, which hit the scene in 1983.
It starts with a classic funky riff. From there, it shifts to showcase his exceptional guitar skills through various licks and solos. His precision on the Fender Stratocaster was remarkable.
Throughout the song, he sings the lyrics and conveys the deep emotion he felt when writing them. Between the thumping baselines and rich Texas blues, it’s nearly impossible not to tap your foot to the beat.
She my sweet little thing She my pride and joy She my sweet little baby I'm her little lover boy
#2 Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Another of the songs from Steve Ray Vaughan that you need to hear is his cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return). It was on his 1984 Album Couldn’t Stand the Weather and was a tribute to the guitar legend.
As far as tributes go, this is one of the best you’ll ever hear.
Whether high or low, he plays every note perfectly. He respectfully tips his hat to Hendrix while lighting up his Stratocaster. Listeners get taken on a wild ride through nearly every note on the fretboard.
Well, I'm standing next to a mountain, chop it down with the edge of my hand Well, I'm standing next to a mountain, chop it down with the edge of my hand Pick up all the pieces, make an island, might even raise a little sand
Steve Ray Vaughan released Tightrope as one of the songs on his album In Step. Unlike others on our list, Tightrope highlights more of his gritty and soulful voice.
Layering the lyrics with his bluesy guitar helps connect his life struggles with the lyrics he wrote.
The rhythm section provides the perfect punch to back his blistering solos. You can feel the intensity of each note throughout as he bends notes higher than what seems humanly possible.
Afraid of my own shadow, in the face of grace Heart full of darkness, spotlight on my face There was love all around me, but I was looking for revenge Thank God it never found me, would have been the end
#4 Couldn’t Stand the Weather
Couldn’t Stand the Weather, from the album of the same name, may be fourth on our list, but it’s still one of the incredible songs from Stevie Ray Vaughan. He starts the song with a high-energy guitar riff that he returns to throughout the composition.
However, halfway through, he steps it up a notch by releasing a series of lightning-fast fingerpicking and bends.
This tune is one of the best examples of combining rock and blues. It shows his ferocious ability as a top musician.
Runnin' through this business of life Raisin' sand if I'm needed to Ain't so funny when things ain't feelin' right Daddy's hand helps to see me through
Another music great! 7 Greatest Stevie Nicks Songs.
#5 Cold Shot
Another of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s classic blues-rock songs is Cold Shot. It was one of the tracks on his 1984 album Couldn’t Stand the Weather. He grabs your attention by dabbling quickly through a series of notes. However, you’ll likely catch yourself moving to the beat when the bass and drums join him.
Cold Shot features an organ solo that reveals Vaughan isn’t the only remarkably talented musician in his band, Double Trouble. He surrounded himself with others who were just as impressive at their instruments.
Halfway through, Stevie breaks into a solo, letting each note ring out. However, it’s only a matter of time before his fingers get going and a fiery string of notes erupts.
Once was a sweet thing, baby Held that love in our hands Now I reach to kiss your lips It just don't mean a thing
Crossfire is on the In Step album. The song details the pressures he often felt regarding his alcohol abuse. After all, it’s a celebration of continuing to create high-energy and quality music even in sobriety. His gritty voice communicates his passion and perseverance to keep going through the struggles.
And, like any song by SRV, it’s full of quick licks and high energy. It’s equal parts rock and blues, which makes it appealing to both audiences.
Unfortunately, this was one of the final tracks he recorded in the studio before his death.
Save the strong, lose the weak Never turning the other cheek Trust nobody, don't be no fool Whatever happened to the golden rule
#7 Texas Flood
Texas Flood, from the Texas Flood record, was one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s best songs. It starts with an electrifying intro before transitioning into a laid-back blues groove. Between the wails and howls of the notes, listeners get to experience the soulful sound of the powerful lyrics.
The lyrics connect with the common theme of heartbreak often found in rock music. Throughout his writing, you can sense the inspiration from the many artists that inspired his guitar playing over the years.
Between the soulful lyrics and instrumental artistry, the song continues to be relatable to audiences today.
Well, it's floodin' down in Texas All of the telephone lines are down An' I been tryin' to call my baby Lord and I can't get a single sound
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Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Hit Songs Changed the Texas Blues Forever
Stevie Ray Vaughan left behind a catalog of hit songs despite his life being cut short. His ability to make six strings sound so good is something we’ll probably never hear again. While many may be able to imitate his greatness, there will never be another like him.
So, do yourself a favor, add these seven hits to a playlist, and let the notes take you on an adventure.
And if we’ve missed your favorite SRV hit, let us know in the comments!