Jeff Healey

Jeff Healey

born on 25/3/1966 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

died on 2/3/2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jeff Healey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jeff Healey

Norman Jeffrey "Jeff" Healey (March 25, 1966 March 2, 2008) was a blind Canadian jazz and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist who attained musical and personal popularity, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s.

Early life

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Healey was raised in the city's west end. He was adopted as an infant;[1] his adoptive father was a firefighter. When he was almost one year old, Healey lost his sight to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes. His eyes had to be surgically removed, and he was given ocular prostheses.

Early career and success

Healey began playing guitar when he was three, developing his unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap. When he was 15,[2] Jeff Healey formed the band Blue Direction, a four-piece which primarily played bar-band cover tunes and featured bassist Jeremy Littler, drummer Graydon Chapman, and a schoolmate, Rob Quail on second guitar. This band played various local clubs in Toronto, including the Colonial Tavern.

Healey began hosting a jazz and blues show on radio station CIUT-FM where he became known for playing from his massive collection of vintage 78 rpm gramophone records.[3]

Shortly thereafter he was introduced to two musicians, bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen, with whom he formed a trio, The Jeff Healey Band. This band made their first public appearance at the Birds Nest, located upstairs at Chicago's Diner on Queen Street West in Toronto. They received a write-up in Toronto's NOW magazine, and soon were playing almost nightly in local clubs, such as Grossman's Tavern and the famed blues club Albert's Hall (where Jeff Healey was discovered by guitarists Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins).

After being signed to Arista Records in 1988, the band released the album See the Light, featuring the hit single "Angel Eyes" and the song "Hideaway", which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. While the band was recording See the Light, they were also filming (and recording for the soundtrack of) the Patrick Swayze film Road House.[4] Healey had numerous acting scenes in the movie with Swayze, as his band was the house cover band for the bar featured in the movie. In 1990, the band won the Juno Award for Canadian Entertainer of the Year. The albums Hell to Pay and Feel This gave Healey 10 charting singles in Canada between 1990 and 1994, including a cover of The Beatles' While My Guitar Gently Weeps which featured George Harrison and Jeff Lynne on backing vocals and acoustic guitar.[5]

Later work and life

By the release of the 2000 album Get Me Some, Healey began to concentrate his talent in a different musical direction closer to his heart, the appreciation for another original American music form, jazz.

He went on to release three CDs of music of traditional American jazz from the 1920s and 1930s. He had been sitting in with these types of bands around Toronto since the beginning of his music career. Though known primarily as a guitarist, Healey also played trumpet during live performances. His main jazz group for touring and recording being Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards.

Healey was an avid record collector and amassed a collection of well over 30,000 78 rpm records. He had, from time to time, hosted a CBC Radio program entitled My Kind of Jazz, in which he played records from his vast vintage jazz collection. He hosted a program with a similar name on Toronto jazz station CJRT-FM; as of 2010, the latter program continued to air in repeats.

For many years, Healey toured throughout North America and Europe and performed at his club, "Healey's" on Bathurst Street in Toronto, where he played with his blues band on Thursday nights and also with his jazz group on Saturday afternoons. The club moved to a bigger location at 56 Blue Jays Way and was rechristened "Jeff Healey's Roadhouse." Though he had lent his name to the club and often played there, Jeff Healey did not own or manage the bar. (The name came from the 1989 film, Road House, in which Healey appeared.)

At the time of his death, he had been planning to perform a series of shows in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands with his other band, the 'Jeff Healey Blues Band' (aka the 'Healey's House Band') in April 2008.

Over the years, Healey toured and sat in with many legendary performers, including The Allman Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, BB King, ZZ Top, Steve Lukather, Eric Clapton and many more. In 2006, Healey appeared on Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan's CD/DVD Gillan's Inn.

Healey discovered and helped develop the careers of other musical artists, including Terra Hazelton and Amanda Marshall.[6]

In early 2009, Healey's album Mess of Blues won in The 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Blues Album.[7]

Illness and death

On January 11, 2007, Healey underwent surgery to remove metastatic tissue from both lungs. In the previous eighteen months, he had two sarcomas removed from his legs.[8]

On March 2, 2008, Healey died of cancer[9] at St. Joseph's Health Centre in his home town of Toronto.[10] He was 41 years old. His death came a month before the release of Mess of Blues, which was his first rock/blues album in eight years.[11]

Healey is survived by his wife, Cristie, and two children.[12] A tribute concert was held on May 3, 2008, to benefit Daisy's Eye Cancer Fund, which, according to Cristie Healey, had helped make major strides in research and future advances for people born with the same genetically inherited retinoblastoma[13] which led to Healey's blindness at eleven months of age. Cristie and Jeff Healey's son was also born with the same disability.[14]

In 2009, Healey was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame.

In June 2011, Woodford Park in Toronto was renamed Jeff Healey Park in his honour.

In October 2012, his family launched the 'all-new' official website at[15]


Jeff Healey Band

Year Album CAN US UK
1988 See the Light 25 22 58
1990 Hell to Pay 5 27 18
1992 Feel This 27 174 72
1995 Cover to Cover 44 - 50
2000 Get Me Some - - -

Jeff Healey solo

  • 2002: Among Friends[16]
  • 2003: Live at Healey's (Bolder)[17]
  • 2004: Adventures in Jazzland (Healeyophonic)[16]
  • 2006: It's Tight Like That (Stony Plain)[18]
  • 2008: Mess of Blues
  • 2009: Songs From The Road (Stony Plain)
  • 2010: Last Call (Stony Plain Records)

Live albums

  • 2003: Live at Healey's (Bolder)[17]
  • 2005: The Jeff Healey Band Live at Montreux 1999 (Eagle)
  • 2011: Live At Grossman's 1994 (Eagle Rock North/Convexe)
  • 2013: As The Years Go Passing By: Live in Germany 1989-1995-2000 (in-akustik)[19]


  • 1998 The Very Best of Jeff Healey (RCA)[20]
  • 1998 The Very Best of Jeff Healey (MSI Music Distribution)[21]
  • 1999 Master Hits (Arista)
  • 2004 The Platinum and Gold Collection (Arista)
  • 2008 Super Hits (Sony)
  • 2009 Legacy, Volume 1 (Arbor)[22][23]
  • 2013 House On Fire - Demos & Rarities (Eagle Rock North)

Compilation inclusions

  • 2002 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • 2004 What's Love? A Tribute to Tina Turner (Versailles)[24]
  • 2006 Ruf Records Anthology: 12 Years of Where Blues Crosses Over (Ruf Records)[25]
  • 2006 Saturday Night Blues: 20 Years (CBC)[26]


Year Song CAN US Rock UK
1989 "Confidence Man" 11
"See the Light" 33
"Angel Eyes" 16 5 24 86
"Roadhouse Blues" 29
1990 "I Think I Love You Too Much" 5 5
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" 27 7 85
"Full Circle" 72 16
1991 "How Long Can a Man Be Strong" 8 34
"How Much" 32
1992 "Cruel Little Number" 17 2
1993 "Heart of an Angel" 52 20
"Lost in Your Eyes" 15 91
"Leave a Light On" 60
1994 "You're Coming Home" 40
1995 "I Got a Line on You" 34
"Angel" 33
"Stuck in the Middle with You" 33 39
2000 "My Life Story"

Film, DVD

  • 1989 Road House
  • 1999 Live At Montreux[27]
  • 2004 See The Light (BMG)[28]
  • 2009 Legacy, Volume 1 (Arbor)[23]
  • 2013: As The Years Go Passing By: Live in Germany 1989-1995-2000 (in-akustik)[29]

See also

  • Canadian blues
  • Canadian rock
  • Music of Canada


  1. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  2. Assayas, Michka (ed.) (2000). Le dictionnaire du rock, Robert laffont, collection Bouquins.
  3. Jeff Healey, URL accessed on 23 May 2011.
  4. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  5. Arista Records LP AL-8632, 1990.
  6. The Ultimate Amanda Marshall Homepage. Retrieved on 2011-09-28.
  7. Independent Music Awards 8th Annual Winners
  8. Blues guitarist Jeff Healey recovering from lung cancer surgery Accessed 2007-01-16
  9. "Blind rocker Healey dies aged 41", BBC News, March 3, 2008,
  10. Canadian blues guitarist Jeff Healey dies at 41, CTV News, 2008-03-00. URL accessed on 2008-03-03.
  11. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  12. Douglas Martin, Jeff Healey, Guitarist and Singer, Dies at 41, New York Times, 2008-03-04. URL accessed on 2008-03-08.
  13. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  14. Tribute concert address. Retrieved on 2011-09-28.
  15. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  16. 16.0 16.1 Re-released 2006, Stony Plain.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Subtitled "The Thursday Night Recordings".
  18. Jeff Healey and The Jazz Wizards.
  19. The first release of archival material compiled with the participation and full approval of the Jeff Healey Estate. (3CD set - also available as 3CD/2DVD deluxe ed.)
  20. CD re-release 2003 on RCA Camden. However, "(w)ith the 2004 merger of BMG (RCA Victor's parent company) and Sony (Columbia Records' parent company), the Camden label...(was) abandoned", implying that the re-released greatest hits package was discontinued shortly thereafter. See RCA Camden.
  21. Collection issued in Germany and imported via MSI Music Distribution, based in Florida. At the time, MSI Music Distribution was one of the largest importers of recorded music in the United States. See In Other News! Super D buys MSI Music. Entry of September 13, 2007;
  22. A Winnipeg-based record company, distributed by EMI in Canada, Allego Music in the United States, New Music Distribution in Germany and Disques Dorn in France. See Particulars of Arbor Records;
  23. 23.0 23.1 Contains two CDs and one DVD. One CD is a collection of Healey singles, while the other CD is a collection of unreleased live material. The DVD contains "rare footage, interviews, intimate behind the scenes moments, and unseen live performances...(including) collaborations and jams with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Keith Richards, George Harrison, B.B. King, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Lynne, Sheila E, Clarence Clemons, Paul Shaffer and Dave Edmunds." See Legacy Product Description;
  24. Healey plays on "I Can't Stand The Rain", with Alannah Myles.
  25. Healey performs "Workin' Overtime" with Walter Trout.
  26. A compilation album of live performances from the Saturday Night Blues radio program on CBC Radio, hosted by Holger Petersen. Healey's "Anything For You" (Also known as "I Would Do Anything For You", originally recorded on the Among Friends album) is included.
  27. Re-released 2005, RED Distribution. Includes Jeff Healey Band 1999 performance at the Montreux Festival, plus 1997 performances of four songs at Stravinsky Hall, also in Montreux.
  28. Three video clips and live performances of 10 songs taped April 14, 1989 in London, England. Includes previously unreleased video clip "When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky."
  29. The first release of archival material compiled with the participation and full approval of the Jeff Healey Estate. (3CD/2DVD deluxe ed. - also available as 3 CD set)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jeff Healey

  • Official website
  • Official Facebook Page
  • Jeff Healey biography at
  • NY Times Obituary
  • BBC News Item announcing Healey's death
  • Obituary in The Times
This page was last modified 01.05.2014 14:14:50

This article uses material from the article Jeff Healey from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.