Blues guitarist Norman Jeffrey Healey was born on March 25th of 1966 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Jeff Healey grew up in Toronto’s west side. At eight months old, a rare cancer of the eyes took Jeff’s sight. His eyes were surgically removed and he received artificial replacements.
Healey started on the guitar at the young age of three. Even more incredible is the fact that at this age he began developing his unorthodox way of playing by laying the guitar flat on his lap. At 17 he put the band Blue Direction together and started playing gigs in Toronto.
When Healey met bass guitarist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen, he ended up forming the trio “The Jeff Healey Band” with them. After this group’s first gig, they received such a good review in a local Toronto magazine, they soon were playing practically every night of the week in the local clubs. One of those clubs was the well known blues club, Albert’s Hall. This is where Jeff caught the attention of guitar greats Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins.
In 1988 “The Jeff Healey Band” was signed to Arista Records and released their debut See the Light which featured the hit “Angel Eyes”. While recording See the Light, the band was filming and recording the soundtrack for the movie “Roadhouse” in which Healey had quite a few acting scenes with Patrick Swayze. In the film, Healey’s band was the house band for the bar that the movie centered around. In the 1990s “The Jeff Healey Band” continued to release records.
Blues guitarist Healey later went on to release three albums of jazz from the 1920s and 1930s. This is the style that was the nearest to his heart. He was known to sit in with jazz bands in the Toronto area since the early days of his musical career. Although he mostly played blues guitar in these shows, he was also known to play the trumpet.
On March 2, 2008, Healey died from cancer in his hometown of Toronto. He passed away a month before his album, Mess of Blues, was released. This was the first rock/blues album he had recorded in eight years.
Top five Jeff Healey songs:
1) Hide Away
2) Confidence Man
3) Angel Eyes
4) While My Guitar Gently Weeps
5) Blue Jean Blues
Top three Jeff Healey albums:
1) See the Light
2) Hell to Pay
3) Mess of Blues
Jeff Healey/Jeff Healey Band
- 1986: Adrianna/See the Light (Private Press)
- 1988: See the Light (Arista)
- 1989: Road House Soundtrack
- 1990: Hell to Pay (Arista)
- 1992: Feel This (Arista)
- 1995: Cover to Cover (Arista)
- 2000: Get Me Some (Eagle)
- 2002: Among Friends
- 2003: Live at Healey’s (Bolder)
- 2004: Adventures in Jazzland (Healeyophonic)
- 2005: The Jeff Healey Band Live at Montreux 1999 (Eagle)
- 2006: It’s Tight Like That (Stony Plain)
- 2008: Mess of Blues (Stony Plain)
- 2009: Songs From The Road (Stony Plain)
- 2010: Last Call (Stony Plain Records)
- 1998 The Very Best of Jeff Healey (RCA)
- 1998 The Very Best of Jeff Healey (MSI Music Distribution)
- 1999 Master Hits (Arista)
- 2004 The Platinum and Gold Collection (Arista)
- 2008 Super Hits (Sony)
- 2009 Legacy, Volume 1 (Arbor)
- 2004 What’s Love? A Tribute to Tina Turner (Versailles)
- 2006 Ruf Records Anthology: 12 Years of Where Blues Crosses Over (Ruf Records)
- 2006 Saturday Night Blues: 20 Years (CBC)