It’s been a long time coming, but Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble will finally get the honor many have been waiting for. On Saturday, April 18, the legendary blues trio will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Cleveland museum’s 30th annual induction ceremony.
The occasion seems a fine time to look back at where the group’s fame began to take off: at the Montreux Jazz and International Music Festival in Switzerland. It was there on July 17, 1982, that SRV and Double Trouble—bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton—delivered a magical performance that helped them break through to a wider audience. Though they were unknown outside of Texas at the time, festival organizer Claude Nobs insisted on having them perform on the event’s blues night, calling Vaughan “a jewel, one of those rarities who comes along once in a lifetime.”
Vaughan and the group slayed the crowd, opening with a medley of Freddie King’s “Hide Away” and Vaughan’s own “Rude Mood” before going on to perform the Larry Davis tune “Texas Flood” among other covers. They also piled in three more of their own compositions—“Pride and Joy,” “Love Struck Baby” and “Dirty Pool”—demonstrating to the crowd that they could not only play the work of the masters but carry the genre forward into a new era.
Though the crowd was enthusiastic, the moment was ruined for Vaughan by a small group of attendees who booed throughout the show. The evening had featured a number of acoustic blues acts, and—much like Bob Dylan at Newport in 1965—Stevie and his crew found their electrified performance was too much for the purists in the audience.
Dan Opperman, the band’s road manager, says ”The way I remember it, the ‘ooos’ and the ‘boos’ were mixed together, but Stevie was pretty disappointed. Steviejust handed me his guitar and walked off stage, and I’m like, ‘Are you coming back?’ ” Vaughan went back to the dressing room and sat with his head in his hands.
His disappointment was short lived. When Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble played the Montreux Casino lounge the next night, Jackson Browne attended and offered them his studio for free, an opportunity that resulted in the recording of their 1983 debut album, Texas Flood. David Bowie was also alerted to Vaughan’s six-string prowess and hired him to play on his 1983 album, Let’s Dance, and its support tour. That didn’t pan out so well—Vaughan quit after Bowie’s management reneged on its promise to let Double Trouble open for Bowie on select dates—but it raised Vaughan’s profile at a time when any little bit helped.
Which brings us to this video below. It’s a particularly magical performance of SRV and Double Trouble playing “Texas Flood” at Montreux. Watch for the boo boys—you get a good look at them near the end of the video—but, mostly, enjoy the great music.
You can watch the 30th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony online at Rockhall.com. Other inductees include Ringo Starr, Bill Withers, Lou Reed, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day, the “5” Royales, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.