A few months after guesting on Davie Bowie singles 'Let's Dance' and 'Modern Love' in 1983, Vaughan released his debut album 'Texas Flood,' which spent six months on the charts. The album's closing track was 'Lenny,' a beautiful instrumental Vaughan wrote for his wife Lenora. Vaughan recorded the song on his Stratocaster guitar, also named Lenny.
'The House Is Rockin''
Kicking off Vaughan's 1989 album 'In Step,' 'The House is Rockin' was an old-time rock 'n' roll boogie with rollicking piano and, of course, a Vaughan guitar solo. The song was one of Vaughan's biggest mainstream hits -- earning him and his band, Double Trouble, appearances on 'The Arsenio Hall Show' and 'The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.'
'Tightrope' was one of four songs on 'In Step' written by Vaughan and former Nightcrawlers bandmate Doyle Bramhall. The song's personal lyrics make reference to Vaughan's struggles with alcohol and drug addiction and his recovery after a stint in rehab. 'Tightrope' helped 'In Step' capture the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
'Look at Little Sister'
Vaughan added a touch of R&B to his third studio album 'Soul to Soul' with the Hank Ballard song 'Look at Little Sister.' The up-tempo number showed off the talents of new Double Trouble keyboardist Reese Wynans, and its instrumental middle section featured impressive solos by Vaughan and sax player Joe Sublett. The track also appeared on Vaughan's concert album 'Live Alive.'
'The Sky Is Crying'
Since it was first recorded by Elmore James in 1959, the blues standard 'The Sky Is Crying' has been recorded by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton. Vaughan made the song his own with vocal and guitar performances that enhanced the song's mournful feeling. Vaughan recorded the track in 1985 but it wasn't released until his 1991 posthumous album.
'Cold Shot' appeared on 1984's 'Couldn't Stand the Weather.' Its humorous music video took the song's theme about a love gone bad to an extreme, with cartoonish depictions of violence -- each time ending with Vaughan in the hospital, where he played the song from his hospital bed.
For the title track of his debut album, Vaughan chose to record 'Texas Flood,' a song written and first performed by blues musician Larry Davis in 1958. Vaughan's passionate cover features a remarkable, nearly-two-minute-long guitar solo. 'Texas Flood' and several other songs from the album are featured in the 'Rock Band' and 'Guitar Hero' video game series.
"I am stranded / Caught in the crossfire," sang Vaughan on this 'In Step' track co-written by Double Trouble members Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans, with the Austin songwriting team of Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth. 'Crossfire' was the most commercially successful Stevie Ray Vaughan song, hitting No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Chart in 1989.
Vaughan cited Jimi Hendrix as one of his primary influences, recording remakes of Hendrix songs throughout his career. Vaughan's cover of 'Little Wing' left out the lyrics, but expanded the track from barely two minutes to nearly seven. 'Little Wing' won Vaughan the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
'Pride and Joy'
Topping the list of the best Stevie Ray Vaughan songs is 'Pride and Joy,' a single from 'Texas Flood' that became Vaughan's first hit on the rock charts in 1983. Vaughan wrote the straightforward love song with the simple, but sweet chorus: "She's my sweet little thang / She's my pride and joy / She's my sweet little baby / I'm her little lover boy."