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DLC Week of 6/29: Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and The Who

How do artists achieve icon status? Releasing material like Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble “Crossfire” and The Who “I Can See for Miles” is one surefire way to make a lasting mark! You’ll want to pick up this new DLC debuting Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store.

There’s plenty of debate as to who the “best guitarist ever” is (or was), but one name that is always in the conversation – deservedly – is the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan. “Crossfire,” the lead single off Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble’s fourth and final studio album, 1989’s In Step, is a blues-rock masterpiece and SRV’s only U.S. number-one hit. On this track, Double Trouble – Tommy Shannon on bass, drummer Chris Layton, and keyboardist Reese Wynans – are in fine form and the cut is bolstered further by the Texacali Horns (Joe Sublett on sax and Darrell Leonard on trumpet). Starting off with a machine-gun snare fill followed by a slinky bass figure and subtle organ, “Crossfire” gets its first salvo of SRV’s distinctive pentatonic six-string wizardry at the 10-second mark. At :26, Stevie lends his gravelly, soulful voice to the track and the overall sonic picture of “Crossfire” is complete. The song is fundamentally steeped in the blues, but this isn’t some yawn-inducing retread of same-old, same-old 12-bar “bar blooze” – rather, the result a piece that has foundational roots in blues tradition, but adds some modern, “pop-ish” changes and arrangements that make it both more accessible and interesting. In many ways, “Crossfire” is structured as almost a duet or call-and-response, with SRV’s iconic axe(referred to by Vaughan as his “first wife”) reacting to, and countering, each vocal line. At 1:57 begins a truly masterful solo characterized by barely contained bends and silky smooth hammer-ons and pull-offs. Ironically, given the chart success and enduring legacy of “Crossfire,” at the time the powers that be believed that SRV’s guitar heroics were too wild for mainstream consumption. Layton has recounted that the label said, “‘It’s a great song. And it would really do everything that [a hit] needs to. But we’d have to get rid of the guitar solo because that kind of stuff doesn’t really work on contemporary hits radio.’ And Stevie said, ‘Well, I thought we were a guitar band.’ So anyway, it turned into a little bit of a heated discussion because they were really pushing for this.” Safe to say the bigwigs got this one wrong! The guitar thrashing that begins at 3:35 and intensifies through to “Crossfire”’s climax a minute and a half later is remarkable, unhinged, dynamic, and pure magic. Whether you’re familiar with Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble or this serves as your introduction to this axe-master and his powerful backing troupe, you are in for a serious treat!

One of the biggest names of the ‘60s “British Invasion,” architects of modern hard rock, and an act that laid the foundation for what evolved into both heavy metal and punk, The Who are one of the most significant bands of the modern rock era. “I Can See for Miles,” the only single from the group’s 1967 album, The Who Sell Out, is a thumping, powerhouse barnstormer that brought The Who their greatest U.S. chart success, reaching #9 on the Top 100. All the signature elements are in place – Keith Moon’s manic work behind the drumkit, John Entwistle’s groundbreakingly virtuosic bass lines, Roger Daltrey’s unhinged howl, and the power-chord bashing of the inimitable Pete Townshend – but somehow even more muscular and nasty than the quartet had managed to commit to tape up until that point. “The ultimate Who record… The most rock n roll, the dirtiest thing [they’d] ever done,” Townshend called it upon release (later disappointed that the single didn’t reach #1 as he had expected and hoped), and many would agree! Coming in with all guns blazing, “I Can See for Miles” kicks off with distorted guitar, grumbling bass, and ominous drums before Daltrey’s sinister, threatening vox join the fray at the 10-second mark. Lyrically, the track is… well, *creepy* – a not-so-thinly veiled warning from the “protagonist” to his lover to not mess about while he’s out of town, because (wait for it) he, “can see for miles and miles” and will know what she’s up to. At the first chorus, Townshend unleashes a gnarly one-note guitar lead that presages the punk movement by roughly a decade. At 2:11 the actual “guitar solo” takes this motif and runs with it: a single twangy note played at high speed, over and over, for 10 whole seconds. Attitude, anyone? While in today’s context The Who may be something of a “legacy act,” in 1967 these boys were edgy, pissed, and downright dangerous. The whole song is fizzy/fuzzy guitars, snarly vocal delivery, aggressive lyrics, and a relentless rhythm section. Oh, it doesn’t hurt that it’s also catchy as hell! Moon is justly revered for his inventiveness and reckless abandon on the kit, but wow does he really unleash on “I Can See for Miles!” Every time it seems his haphazardly aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach to the drums is going to abandon any concept of keeping time, he lands squarely back on the beat. Chaos with just a tiny touch of restraint is the name of the game for just over four minutes, making for one of the most innovative and influential songs in rock history. You probably already know this banger – and if you don’t, you will be so very glad to add it to a new favorite to your playlist. It’s hard to fathom how “I Can See for Miles” still sounds every bit as fresh and revolutionary today as it did upon its release over a half-century ago, but truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Bow down to one of the all-time greats!

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble “Crossfire” is featured in the Season 32 Pass. Pick it up today and enjoy the full season of DLC. Both “Crossfire” and The Who “I Can See for Miles” are available for $1.99 each.

  • Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – “Crossfire”
  • The Who – “I Can See for Miles”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 6/29: Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble “Crossfire” and The Who “I Can See for Miles”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, June 29th.