Stevie Ray Vaughan was a musician that died well before his time. Stevie made a name for himself as a blues guitarist at a time when blues music wasn’t all that popular. But the star’s charisma allowed him to pave the way for a blues revival. Sadly, Stevie’s meteoric rise to the top halted when he passed away in a tragic helicopter accident. For many years, the public left guessing as to what had made the 1990 crash occur. In 2020, a lawyer who worked on the case revealed the details of the crash to the public for the first time, finally answering the question of who responsible for Stevie’s death. Join Facts Verse as new details of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s helicopter crash change everything.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Untimely End
Music fans were taken aback when the death of blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan announced in the summer of 1990. The guitarist had only been a figure in the music scene for around a decade. And was just recently starting to find mainstream success. Not only was Stevie’s star on the rise, but the musician had also recently given up drugs and alcohol. Stevie had plagued by substance-abuse issues during his early touring years. And became more popular than ever once he set them aside. Stevie spent the last years of his life making rock-and-roll music that preached about the values of living a clean and sober lifestyle. While this message might’ve seemed cheesy coming from anyone else, Stevie had the musical chops to keep the people invested.
No one knows what might’ve waited for Stevie in the future if it hadn’t for the tragic 1990 helicopter crash that put his life to an end all to early. The 35 years old guitarist at the time, and just starting to reap the rewards of his years of hard work. The crash occurred in Wisconsin, where Stevie was performing with elder blues legend Eric Clapton. For many years, the details of the helicopter crash that killed Stevie Ray Vaughan remained a mystery to the public. However, a lawyer that worked on the case has recently come forward with details that show exactly what caused the helicopter carrying the musician to crash.
In addition to Stevie Ray Vaughan, the helicopter that crashed was also carrying a few other people. One of those people was a man by the name of Bobby Brooks, who was Eric Clapton’s manager. Bobby had a very large estate, and the man’s surviving family members were adamant about getting justice. Because of this, Bobby’s estate ended up hiring some pretty expensive lawyers to try and sue whoever was responsible for the crash. The man who ended up getting to the bottom of the reason behind the helicopter crash a lawyer working for the manufacturer of some of the helicopter’s parts.
Other parties that sued included the business responsible for organizing the helicopter flight. The helicopter that crashed was one of four helicopters that took off from the same location at the same time. With the other three helicopters containing Eric Clapton and other members of the guitarist’s entourage.
The Surviving Family Members Wanted Answers
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother and his brother’s wife meant to fly on the helicopter with Stevie. But there ended up not enough room. This meant that the pair thankfully survived. However, like much of the public, they were desperate for answers about who was responsible for the crash. As the lawsuits went underway, it eventually revealed which party was responsible for the accident. However, much of the public wasn’t given the opportunity to find out until decades later. Now, it’s finally clear who was responsible for the accident that killed Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother Jimmie both started out as guitarists in Texas. Stevie was the much more talented of the two brothers. Though that didn’t mean that Jimmie didn’t know what he was doing. Jimmie Ray Vaughan is still alive today, at the age of 71. In addition to being known as Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother. Jimmie is also know for his work with the band the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Both Stevie and Jimmie were blues musicians to their core. Which made them think that it was unlikely that they would ever find mainstream popularity. However, they quickly became legends in their home state of Texas.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother could be found gaining popularity in Texas over the course of the 1970s. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that one of them finally managed to break into the mainstream. Of course, the first of the two brothers to break into the mainstream was Stevie, who took the world by storm with his incredible guitar playing. Sadly, Stevie would only see a handful of years in the spotlight before his life came to an untimely and tragic end. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Stevie Overcame Substance-Abuse Issues
Soon after breaking into the mainstream, Stevie Ray Vaughan fell victim to the excessive and debaucherous rock-and-roll lifestyle. Stevie’s talent behind the guitar not enough to keep him safe from the dangers of the industry. And things got worse and worse for the musician until he finally forced to take a trip to rehab during the mid-1980s. Stevie Ray Vaughan far from the first rock-and-roll musician to enter into rehab by that time. And stints in rehab not known for being very successful in the long-term. However, Stevie’s ended up being one of the few rock-and-roll rehab success stories. When Stevie came out of rehab. He seemed like a completely different, although he was still clearly the same person when he got behind the guitar.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s big break had come in 1982. It is when the musician given the chance to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Stevie’s blues playing put off many attendees at the festival. Still, the majority fell in love with the guitarist for his passion and technical ability. Stevie’s appearance at the festival led to him getting a record deal. And he went on to tour the world over the course of the next few years. Stevie was in Europe when it became clear that his substance abuse was becoming an issue. He suffered a mental breakdown on the stage in 1986. And this is what resulted in the guitarist going to rehab.
Following Stevie’s successful stint in rehab, the guitarist went on to release the most successful album of his career. That album was 1989’s In Step, which Stevie and his band were touring in support of in the days leading up to the guitarist’s tragic death. The title of the album referred to the Twelve Steps of AA, which was how Stevie got sober. The album was a massive success despite featuring songs espousing the message of staying clean and sober, which wasn’t very popular in rock and roll at the time.
Stevie’s Final Night Was One to Remember
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tour in support of the album In Step ended with a two-night gig opening up for Eric Clapton. The helicopter crash that killed Stevie occurred after the second night. On the final night of Stevie’s life, he got to play on the stage alongside not only Eric Clapton, but also Robert Cray and Buddy Guy. Stevie’s brother Jimmie was also part of the performance. And all of the musicians being on the stage together was quite the sight to behold. Both of Stevie and Eric’s performances sold out, and the 40,000 people that were in attendance each night certainly got a show.
After the incredible performance that Stevie and Eric gave that second night. No one would’ve predicted that the former figure’s life was about to end in tragedy. However, that’s exactly what happened. Eric and his entourage meant to fly to Chicago, and Stevie went with them. Four helicopters took off, but only three ended up making it to Chicago. It later revealed that the helicopter carrying Stevie had crashed almost immediately after takeoff, killing every single person that was on it.
What Caused the Helicopter Crash?
The four helicopters took off from a parking lot, and the helicopter carrying Stevie crashed into a hill a short distance away. There’s no clear reason why the pilot would’ve been heading straight into a hill. So it assumed that the incident had caused by some mechanical issue. This is where the lawyer who solved the case came in. The lawyer ended up figuring out that it wasn’t a mechanical issue that had been at fault the night of Stevie’s death, but a lack of proper experience from the helicopter’s pilot. The pilot flying the helicopter not licensed to operate the aircraft in conditions that required him to use radar displays.
It was found that the pilot that responsible for the helicopter crash that killed Stevie Ray Vaughan had blinded by the lights of the parking lot that the four helicopters had taken off from. The pilots that were in the other three helicopters were all licensed to use radar displays, so they were able to maneuver their aircrafts despite losing visibility. Because of this, they were able to make the journey safely while the helicopter containing Stevie crashed shortly after taking off.
At the end of the day, it was the business that organized the helicopter flight that held responsible for the crash. And they ended up settling out of court with the victims’ surviving family members for an undisclosed amount. Though the surviving family members eventually got justice, the world was still deprived of a legendary blues guitarist. Stevie Ray Vaughan was mourned profusely. Though the true story of what caused the helicopter crash that killed him remained a mystery for many years. Now, fans finally know the truth.
If Stevie Ray Vaughan’s life hadn’t been tragically cut short, who knows what would’ve waited in the future for the popular blues guitarist. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Stevie Ray Vaughan’s final album was named after the Twelve Steps of AA, and that he got to perform alongside both Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy on the night of his death? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!