1985 Austin American-Statesman file photo of Stevie Ray Vaughan by Jay Godwin.

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Age 35 | Cause Of Death: AIRPLANE CRASH/ HELICOPTER

(Born: Oct 3, 1954 in Dallas, TX; Died: Aug 27, 1990 in East Troy, WI)

Sure, Robert Cray had the nascent groundswell’s first Top 40 hit with March 1987’s “Smoking Gun” (off of Strong Persuader), but it was Vaughan who sold millions of records and had the ability to galvanize arena-sized audiences with his incendiary performances. And in the final hours of his life, it was Vaughan who–by Eric Clapton’s admission– emerged the victor in a good-ol’-fashioned cutting contest on a Wisconsin amphitheater stage, leaving the other world-class participants–Clapton, Cray, Buddy Guy, and Vaughan’s brother Jimmie–all wondering to what heights he would eventually take his virtuosity. The question was answered when the helicopter carrying Vaughan to Chicago after the concert slammed into a fog-shrouded hill near the amphitheater in the wee hours of August 27, 1990. He was dead–instantly–at 35. ~by Ted Drozdowski To buy the book: Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire, Vol. 1