SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — For many of us who were not fortunate enough to have grown up in Texas, the first time we heard Stevie Ray Vaughan shred a guitar… was on a David Bowie record.

I grew up in Connecticut and Maine so I was a little late to the party.

I was 14 when I first heard his distinct guitar sound.

It was the tail end of winter in 1983 and I was living in Caribou, Maine. A small town about 30 minutes from the Canadian border. ( I don’t know how I got there…. but there I was.)

The only Top 40 station in the area was little AM 1390 WEGP the next town over. It had a weak signal but if you wanted to hear the latest tunes… you made it work.

I was playing pool in the basement of the recreation center with a couple of buddies and this new song, “Let’s Dance” comes out of the tiny speaker of a vintage portable radio that was hanging up in the corner. It probably played between spins of Billie Jean and Stray Cat Strut.

While I’m a fan now, I really didn’t know much about Bowie at that time. Fame, Golden Years and Space Odyssey were songs my older cousins listened to while they were passing around one of those “homemade cigarettes”.

Even though “Let’s Dance” is a really good song, it didn’t GRAB me…..until the last 40 seconds. Then it grabbed me and threw me up against the wall.

That guitar solo during the song’s fade! Sounded so hot it made my ears blister.

Clapton, Van Halen, Santana, Hendrix…we have a new contender!

I’ll admit, I’m one of those nerds that looks at an album’s liner notes. I always wanted to know who plays what instruments on whatever recording I’m listening to. I knew the top session guitar player in the early 80’s was Steve Lukather of Toto. His name was attached to a lot of my favorite albums.

But this guy on the Bowie record… was new, exciting and the sound he created made the hair on my arms stand up.

A few weeks later a friend tells me he has the cassette (remember those) of the new Bowie album. I didn’t ask if there were other good songs on it. I just wanted to know who was playing the guitar on that damn song! He produces the tape from his backpack.

While opening the case he excitedly tells me the tape is a foreign import. Well…Canada and technically he’s right but we are standing 30 minutes from the Canadian border!

“Stevie Ray Vah-gan?” he asks/replies.

Photo: Don Morgan

Never heard of him… but I’ll be looking for more.  I dig the Bowie cassette and the guitar solo on “China Girl” is even better!

Eventually I see the video on MTV. Bowie in roadside bar. I assume it’s in Mexico but the video was filmed in Australia. Bowie’s strumming a guitar…while wearing white gloves.

White gloves?

Who the hell does that? And where is the Stevie guy that plays on the record?

It kind of bothered me that the actual guitar player on the record wasn’t being shown in the video and to make maters worse… those GLOVES!

I’ll get over it. It’s only rock and roll.

It takes me a few more years to really get in to Stevie Ray Vaughan because tracking down his records was nearly impossible in my neck of the woods. Unless I wanted to pay that dreaded “special order fee” the guy at Radio Shack would often tag me with. Eventually I move to a city with a killer record store and finding albums like “Texas Flood”, “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” and Soul To Soul” is a LOT easier. His music was part of the soundtrack to the first few years of my radio career.

36 years later, I’m still listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan. I’m just in awe of the man’s talent, passion and soul.

Then I was today years old when I learned that David Bowie’s goofy music video gloves bothered Stevie Ray as well!

This is according to “Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan”. An upcoming biography of the Texas Guitar God.

The books reveals that Stevie Ray was upset that Bowie appears to be playing HIS licks while wearing white gloves.

The story goes that Vaughan told drummer Chris Layton “‘That motherf*****r shouldn’t be pretending to be playing s**t he wasn’t playing!”

There! I feel….validated. Thank you Stevie Ray. I guess I’m not as OCD as I thought.

That is kind of where the Bowie/Vaughan pairing comes to an end.

SRV was supposed to tour with the Thin White Duke but he wasn’t keen on the choreography Bowie wanted. He was also under the impression that he and his band Double Trouble would be the opening act on the “Serious Moonlight” tour. Something that was never in the cards as far as Bowie was concerned. Turns out, he didn’t need Ziggy Stardust anyway!

Vaughan’s first major label album, “Texas Flood”, was released a couple of months later. He went on to release 5 albums with Double Trouble. He was killed in a helicopter crash after a show in Wisconsin on August 27, 1990. He was 35 years old.

Vaughan and Double Trouble were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

“Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan” will be released August 13th.

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