Stevie Ray Vaughan 1954-1990
Having won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Recording earlier this year and recently finished an album with his brother Jimmie, Stevie Ray Vaughan was on the verge of a fresh start when he was killed in a helicopter crash on Aug. 27 near East Troy, Wis. Vaughan had just left the Alpine Valley Music Theater where he, Eric Clapton, and Robert Cray had performed when the fatal accident occurred; it also took the lives of the pilot and three members of Clapton's entourage, tour manager Colin Smythe, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and agent Bobby Brooks. Stevie Ray, a Texas guitar hero who almost single-handedly revived interest in blues in the '80s, made his recording debut in 1983 on David Bowie's Let's Dance and released his first album later that year. In 1986, the guitarist began a recuperation from drug and alcohol addiction. ''I nearly died, and it got my attention,'' he told the Dallas Morning News. His Grammy-winning album, In Step, detailed his recovery in its most compelling song, ''Wall of Denial.''
''When we got through the negative stuff, drinking, we said all we wanted to do is grow together and do our best in life,'' Stevie Ray's girlfriend, Janna Lapidus, 21, said two days before he was killed. The blues will carry on as they always have, but now the music has cause to sound even sadder.
America's national anthem can't seem to get much respect. Always hard to sing, ''The Star Spangled Banner'' was recently mangled by Roseanne Barr and now has been rejected completely by Sinead O'Connor. The Irish singer demanded that the song not be played before her Aug. 24 show at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. (where the anthem is broadcast before every concert). O'Connor says she intended no disrespect: ''I have a policy of not having any national anthems played before my concerts in any country, not even my own, because they have nothing to do with music in general.'' Afterward, she was banned from the venue; radio stations in New York and New Jersey stopped playing her records; and Frank Sinatra told an audience at the Arts Center the following night that she ''should not have been permitted to go on.'' ''I'm furious,'' says her spokeswoman. ''The people waving the flag are the most self-serving publicity hounds I've ever seen.''