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Tommy’s Coffee Break Calendar for August 27th

Today, it’s an unexpected and tragic death; an amazingly successful debut album is released; and an incredibly talented guitarist celebrates a birthday…

Eddie Vedder
Eddie fronts the band performing in Melbourne at the Make Poverty History Concert (of course!), Nov., 2006. (Photo: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

8/27/1990 – (24 years ago today) Stevie Ray Vaughan is killed when the helicopter he was flying in, hit a ski slope while navigating through the thickest of dense fog conditions. He had just wrapped up a show at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin, with Eric Clapton and Robert Cray, when he was told there were three seats open on a helicopter heading back to Chicago with Clapton’s crew. Fate steps in: turns out there was just one seat remaining, and Stevie requested it from his brother, who obliged. Three members of Eric Clapton‘s entourage also perish. Rolling Stone ranks SRV at #7 on their “100 Greatest Guitarist’s of All Time”. Truly one of the best ever. R.I.P.

8/27/1991 – Can it really be 23 years old? One of the most commercially successful debut albums ever hits the record shops: Pearl Jam unleash their debut LP “Ten”, which produces three classic singles (“Alive”, “Even Flow”, and “Jeremy”) and goes on to sell over 13 million copies! Eddie Vedder starts the journey to bona-fide legendary hero status, and it all still sounds epic.

8/27/1953 – You can’t really “air guitar” to this guy, it’s just too hard: Happy Birthday Rush guitar wiz Alex Lifeson, 61 years old today. Neat-o fact-o: on May 9, 1996, Alex was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the band becomes the first rock outfit to also be honored, as a group. I asked Alex in a phone interview a few years back if there was anyplace in the world the band hasn’t played; “Yeah, you know we’ve never been to Australia, actually.” He was very pleasant, polite and cordial, a genuine nice dude. Watch him work his magic on this vintage live clip:

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