(Not for sale) Please feel free to share the URL, but do not copy or post these images anywhere. All images copyrighted Craig Hopkins.
Stevie Vaughan (left) at his very first performance in his first band, The Chantones. The likely date is June 26, 1965. For more information, see my book. If you can positively identify the bass player on the right, I’ll give you ten bucks!
1969 snapshot of Stevie’s band The Southern Distributor. On the back “Steve” has written a note to Barbara Moore (now deceased) It may be the earliest SRV signature in private hands outside whatever his Estate may have held onto.
Earliest known handbill for a show by Stevie’s band, Blackbird, 1971. This pre-dates his move to Austin, and perhaps foreshadows his black hats.
Among the earliest professionally-designed SRV concert posters, this one by the late Robert Burns, 1972. From a complete collection of his Blackbird posters, this is the only one I kept in my collection – the Blackbird Silver Surfer. Awesome, and very rare. There may be less than six surviving.
Stevie’s fingerprints, 1974, resulting from attempting to shoplift a couple of steaks. This also is among the earliest SRV signatures around.
Stevie’s fingerprints, 1979, resulting from his drug bust in Houston. Note how damaged his left hand fingertips are.
Very rare signed Cobras record sleeve, 1977; likely signed circa 1984.
From perhaps the largest collection of SRV promotional material (200+ pages), the earliest known professional press release, 1980, pre-dating the hiring of Tommy Shannon on bass. The press release is several pages in length, plus copies of press clippings and reviews of concerts up to that date.
In the photo on the 1980 press release, Stevie is holding an Epiphone guitar. On the back of the guitar are stickers spelling “STINGRAY,” a seldom used nickname. The autograph above is the only known example of him signing “Stevie ‘StingRay’ Vaughan.” He signed this for an empolyee at a Houston nightclub.
First publicity photo of Stevie under Chesley Millikin’s management, 1980. The autograph is circa 1985, however.
At manager Chesley Millikin’s request, Stevie wrote a 2.5-page autobiography of highlights up until 1980. Only known SRV handwritten autobiography.
Early reflective foil sticker, about 4 inches, circa 1980. Very rare, I’ve seen perhaps three or four since 1990.
Perhaps the best SRV concert poster, and certainly a favorite of collectors. 1982
Did you know Stevie designed his own guitar? You do if you read my book. A prototype was actually built and played on stage in 1985 for a song or two. No evidence he ever played it on stage again.
Just one of many press releases, this one announcing the release of the first album, and that Stevie will not be joining David Bowie on tour as had been planned and rehearsed.
Promotional photo for the Lonnie Mack album that Stevie “produced.” See the whole story in my book. This photo signed for me by Lonnie Mack in 1995.
Concert contract signed by Stevie and by roadie Cutter Brandenburg acknowledging receipt of $800 for a 1982 show. Note this is actually Stevie’s signature; compare to the secretarial signatures on most contracts that have been on the market.
Stevie’s handwritten lyrics and chord notations for “Couldn’t Stand the Weather.” This is one of at least three drafts that survive. Well, sort of survive – the Hard Rock Cafe let theirs fade to almost invisible. Think about that the next time you have an option to do business somewhere else.
Rare poster for the Carnegie Hall gig, reportedly only given to record company executives. I’ve seen less than ten in 30 years.
Stevie’s handwritten lyrics to “Ain’t Gonna Give Up On Love” [spelling corrected]. Stevie signed and gave this to his Australian tour promoter’s family in 1985, and one of the relatively few genuine “Soul to Soul” inscriptions. It is also a favorite of a forger(s).
Promotional handbill for “Willie the Wimp” on Live Alive, 1986. Withdrawn by the record company likely having second thoughts about plastering stores with a photo of the late Willie in his coffin, or maybe the Stokes family objected. In any event, not many of these escaped into collections.
Couple of receipts for Stevie’s hats! Texas Hatters is still making ’em just like they did for Stevie. They are now located in Lockhart, Texas. Note that Stevie was checked in to the L.A. hotel as “Ben T. Fender.” Get it?
… and speaking of aliases… Here are several hotel receipts with Stevie’s aliases “Lee Melone” and Iza Klean, plus a rare one under his real name. One still has the original AMEX receipt for the bill. The post-recovery use of Iza Klean is poignant.
… two more … “Vita Lee” and “Mosey Long”
How would you have liked to have a lifetime pass to every Stevie Ray Vaughan concert? That’s what his friend Pam had. Only one known to exist.
How to play “Lenny” written out by Stevie for his roadie, circa 1984. This is the only known surviving chord diagram / instruction handwritten by Stevie. After it was originally sold by the roadie in the early 1990’s, the Estate of that buyer sold it to me in the late 2010’s.
Perhaps the most interesting autograph set I’ve seen. An autograph collector in Finland asked people to make a drawing in addition to their signature. What a great idea. Stevie drew a world globe with “Heaven Help Us All” written above it. Chris drew a tree, Tommy a bass with a hand headstock, and Reese a piano. Interestingly, there are handwritten lyrics in which Stevie repeated the phrase “Heaven help us all.”
Canadian immigration paperwork including a photo, for 1987 shows in Montreal and Toronto.
Record albums from Stevie’s personal collection.
I have a few of Stevie’s cancelled checks, but also a few blank checks like this. Just a regular guy with a regular checkbook, right?
From one of Stevie’s mojo bags: a colorful knotted cloth, polished stone and several beads. The beads were used in Stevie Wonder’s hair, and it appears one was cut with Wonder’s hair still in it. How’s that for mojo?
Letter to Stevie from musician Hank Ballard, expressing hope he can open for Stevie again in the future. Hank was an early rock pioneer, writing “Work With Me, Annie” and “The Twist” (a year before Chubby Checker recorded it). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
And speaking of letters, here’s a sheet of Stevie’s letterhead and his business card, circa 1988-90.
Throughout his career, Stevie routinely made lists of songs that were in his current repertoire. It is not a set list for a particular show. This one is circa 1988-90. Sometimes these lists were separated into “vocal” and “instrumental” songs, perhaps to guide him in devising set lists or recording, though Stevie almost never had a written set list for concerts – the band knew to watch Stevie. This list is unusual in that Stevie included the key for each song.
The next several images are some of many SRV concert tickets in my collecion. The above page contains some of the earliest printed SRV tickets. Before 1980, there were few printed tickets (though I have seen one as early as 1978), because Stevie was playing venues that didn’t use printed tickets. Pay the cover charge and walk in to general admission seating. Note that in 1981 Stevie was opening for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, a situation that was soon reversed. Also note shows two weeks apart for which Stevie’s name was misspelled two different ways – “Vanghan” and “Vaughn.” When Stevie got some clout, there was a contract rider requiring the venue to buy the band steak dinners if his name was misspelled on the marquee! They collected on that several times. Also note the Tango pass for the in Austin Texas Flood album release party.
Rare ticket for Stevie’s first appearance on “Austin City Limits” television in 1983. Also an invitation to the world premiere of the album Couldn’t Stand the Weather in 1984, which was held on a riverboat on the Colorado River in Austin.
Here is the pin/button that goes with the invitation above.
From the Estate of Chesley Millikin, his box seat ticket for the Carnegie Hall show in New York City.
Couple of autographed tickets, one from Australia, the other from Hamburg Germany near where The Beatles cut their chops 1960-62.
Note how Stevie’s signature changed from 1984 to 1986.
Ticket for Stevie’s second appearance on “Austin City Limits” television, and for one of several shows on Auditorium Shores in Austin, where now you will find the statue of Stevie on the jogging path next to the river.
Tickets to Stevie’s last two shows. At top is one of several versions of the ticket voucher which could be redeemed with ten bucks to get onto the lawn for the show. This one is perhaps the most rare, being hand-marked for the last show. There are at least two very different computer-printed tickets for the last show.
Rare tickets to cancelled shows in Europe in September 1990. Most were redeemed for refunds.
To my knowledge this is the last show for which tickets had been printed for a Stevie Ray Vaughan show. It would have been near Bakersfield, CA.
The lease on Stevie and Janna’s New York apartment. Several pages are signed by them both.
A sad but historic document, this is the first page of the NTSB’s in-house initial notification of the helicopter crash, from the nearest (Chicago) regional office addressed to the national Board Director. This is likely the very first official document by the NTSB, from which the first press release would have been created. This was typed within hours of locating the crash site. It is one of at least two Initial Notifications on NTSB watermarked letterhead.
As is common practice, the cemetery placed a temporary marker for Stevie (shown in the photo) until a permanent marker was made. Individual brass letters slide into a track. Enterprising fans routinely removed the letters as keepsakes. The cemetery eventually quit replacing the letters. On one visit I found his name spelled in duct tape! Many years later, I was contacted by someone who said “their friend” had removed the first set of letters, and did I want them? He didn’t want anything for them, so I do not have any reason to doubt the story. A letter or two are bent from an attempt to pry them out before he realized they would just slide out of the track. The R was missing. The cemetery provided a correct replacement for me.
This note from Stevie’s mother to a fan in 1994 reveals a great deal about what a fine person she was. She believed that every piece of fan mail deserved a response, even if it was four years old. She accepted my offer to take over the burden of responding to the countless fans writing to her, and we became good friends. She would clip or type out the names and addresses from each piece of mail and give them to me to send information about the Fan Club. The note above was different in that it was a response to someone who had written before Stevie passed away. She felt it deserved her personal response.
This has been the tip of the iceberg of 30 years of collection SRV memorabilia. Please note there are several other pages devoted to single items. Click on the Menu. Also see the Virtual Garage Sale for SRV items for sale.