Maybe You Should Know Jeff Healey

Posted by: Daniel R. Lehrman Posted in: Pics-Players-Interviews

Jeff Healey

Jeff Healey

Jeff Healey was born in Toronto on March 25th 1966. At the age of eight months old Healey developed retinoblastoma, an unusual cancer of the eyes. His eyes were removed surgically and he was given man made replacements. He was adopted at one year old, and lived without cancer for 38 years until he developed in his legs. He had surgery for this, but it was eventually what caused his death.
At the age of three years Jeff began
playing the guitar. The young age at which he began to play probably mandated developing his own style of playing with the instrument flat on his lap. When he was 17 he formed his first band, Blue Direction, a four-piece band which primarily played cover tunes.
Soon after, he met bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen, with whom he formed a trio. The band made their first public performance at The Birds Nest, located at Chicago’s Diner on Queen Street West in Toronto. They earned a very positive write-up in Toronto’s NOW magazine, which propelled them into playing almost nightly in local clubs like Grossman’s Tavern and the famous blues club Albert’s Hall, this is where Jeff Healey was discovered by guitar geniuses Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins.

They were signed to Arista Records in 1988, the band then released the album See The Light, featuring the hit single “Angel Eyes” and the song “Hideaway”, nominated for a “Best Instrumental” Grammy Award. While recording See The Light, they were also filming and recording for the soundtrack of the Patrick Swayze film Road House. In 1990 the band won the “Entertainer of the Year” Juno Award.
Over the years he toured and sat-in with many legendary performers, including, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, BB King, ZZ Top, Steve Lukather, Eric Clapton and many, many more.
Healey discovered and helped to develop the careers of other artists, such as Amanda Marshall and Terra Hazelton.
On January 11, 2007, Healey underwent surgery to remove metastatic tissue from both of his lungs. In the prior eighteen months he had two surgery’s to remove sarcomas from his legs. On March 2, 2008 Jeff Healey died of cancer.

Jeff Healey was truly one of the gifted guitarists of our time. His talent was not about playing well in spite of an impairment, but rather playing so well that it was possible to miss that he was impaired in any way altogether.

Is it a coincidence or something more powerful that he met an early death like Stevie Ray. Take a look at this video of Jeff Healey and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Enjoy these videos, Jeff is missing nothing musicically and guitar wise. Most of us would give our left nut to play with his emotion and skill. Don’t take anything for granted, Jeff Healey is an inspiration to Guitar Players Center. Proof that with the desire and effort, you can do anything. Watch the videos.

17 Responses to Maybe You Should Know Jeff Healey

  1. This guy is unbelievable, I have listened some of his songs, he is freaking great. Such a pity he is not with us anymore…

  2. Danny this is one of my all time favorites! Loved both of them.. and it’s such a lesser world without them both. Adding so much throat and soul to blues..I don’t recall which guitarist I saw a video with Healy, but loved how when Jeff got up to jam, this guy kept at his back, so he wouldn’t loose his place on stage and kept him close to his chair.. always watching out for others!

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  4. Pzychotropic

    One of my favourite guitarists… now I have to add him to my ever increasing list of passed away musicians.

  5. Wow, I just loved Jeff Healey’s version of Road House Blues. What a killer guitar player with a fine voice for the blues.

  6. Didn’t know about him. What a heroic and talented guy!

  7. I didn’t know about his dis/ability. Wow! Great story!

  8. I recall vividly one late evening while visiting Toronto back in the summer of 1985…

    I was walking down Queen Street and it was getting time to wrap up the evening, but figured there was time for one last beverage… So I walked a little further down the street to see what was happening at The Pine Tree Tavern. As I approached the bar, I could hear the sounds of wailing guitar riffs. I hadn’t been at The Pine Tree before on my visits, but never had I heard anything like that in the evening breeze. As I entered the place, I noticed it was packed with people glued to the performers on stage. Most of the people there, including myself, heard The Jeff Healey Band for the first time. We all stood there in astonishment as we all realized without any doubt, that we were witnessing a promising young star first hand. It was one of those rare special moments you can never forget. I always considered myself very fortunate that I was at that place at that moment in time.

    There are so many wonderful stories regarding Jeff Healey, but I will always remember this one. An amazing talent. A star that will forever shine brightly.

  9. Another Healey fan!! Agreed his Road House Blues cover just kills. I also love Confidence Man, and Angel Eyes, among others.
    I didn’t know he was involved in get Amanda Marshall going, she is another of my favorites, though totally different style of music. Check her out, what an amazing voice.
    I understand toward the end of his life he was playing sax in a jazz band, though I haven’t heard any of it. There may be some YouTube videos.
    thanks, Danny, for remembering Jeff.

  10. Cheap Guitar

    Wow! Thanks for the post.

    I think Road House was the first I heard of Jeff Healey and loved his music. It is what made me buy the Road House sound track.

    I just saw the movie again a few days ago as I was channel surfing and had not heard of his death until now.

    I am one year younger than he and it is strange how when you are younger( say a teenager)you think of someone in there fourties as old. Now that I’m in my fourties I don’t see it that way. I feel like I did in my twenties and don’t think about it until I hear of someone my age passing or I look in the mirror and see my old ass looking back, and think whoa where did the time go?

    He died way to young, it is a shame and a loss.


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  12. I stand corrected, after more research, Jeff was a trumpet player in his jazz band, not saxophone like I wrote previously. One youtube video has him going between trumpet and guitar, and he played some amazing jazz licks.
    RIP Jeff.


  13. zafer yilmaz

    What a talent he was, he was great in Road House. God bless his soul 🙁

  14. watch tv show online

    amazing stuff thanx

  15. Summer Camps

    You you should change the page title Maybe You Should Know Jeff Healey | Guitar Lessons for Beginners DVD, Online Videos Learn at Home to something more catching for your subject you make. I liked the post however.

  16. that is one of my favorite songs ever. Just seeing the video for the first time. I think that the Beatles, especialy George would have and must have been proud to see/hear that rendition of While my Guitar Gently Weaps. I mean George probably just through out his Guitars after hearing it. lol

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