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John Mayer Inducts Stevie Ray Vaughan Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Self-described “Stevie Ray Vaughan wannabe” John Mayer inducted the late guitar hero into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the organization’s annual ceremony tonight in Cleveland.

In between labeling Vaughan “the ultimate guitar hero” enough times to spawn a drinking game in the press room, Mayer explained how his idol opened new musical worlds for him. “I grew up listening to Thriller, 1984 and the Footloose soundtrack … so when it came time to give Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble a listen, it sounded like an exotic tale told in a familiar voice…the second I heard it, I knew that it was going to mean everything.”

Mayer took care to give Vaughan’s bandmates their due: “Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Reese [Wynans] — his band Double Trouble, were the reason that Stevie was able to break the barrier between music that guitar players loved and music that everybody could feel. By all accounts, if Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble took the stage to open for someone, they gave it back in shambles.”

The “Your Body Is a Wonderland” singer also poignantly credited Vaughan with helping him steer clear of addiction: “Because of Stevie, I grew up proudly turning down every drug and drink that was offered to me. Heroes can save your life.”

“I’m a Stevie Ray Vaughan wannabe,” he concluded, “because I wanted to be Stevie and I still want to be Stevie. And if you ever pick up a guitar, is there anybody better to want to be than Stevie Ray Vaughan?”

Vaughan’s brother Jimmie accepted the award on Stevie’s behalf. “Stevie Ray Vaughan was my little brother,” he began. “I know he would want to thank the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but most of all, he’d want to thank his fans, all 18 million of them, that voted for him to get in here. He would be so proud and so would my mother and father.”

Much like Mayer, the elder Vaughan also credited Stevie with having a positive effect on his life offstage: “Big brother showed little brother how to play guitar first, but little brother showed me how to get clean and sober. He was sober four years before that helicopter went down on August 27, 1990. Died on the same day as my father — they died four years apart. It seems like to me that he’s just out on tour and he’s going to come back soon, but then I remember. I’m not going to ever get over losing him, I’m not going to get over this crazy thing.”

See Stevie Ray Vaughan and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the ’80s

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Worst Snubs

Next: Top 10 Stevie Ray Vaughan Songs

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