The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Jeff Healy & Cancer Research

Years ago, I saw a Patrick Swazye movie entitled “Roadhouse.” Swayze plays a traveling bouncer hired by a small town bar. The bar’s band was led by a blind blues guitarist playing a Fender Stratocaster across his lap. His style was so unique and incredibly good, that I looked him up and discovered Jeff Healey. Born in 1966, Jeff was adopted as an infant and at the age of eight months was strickened with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that took his eyesight. Because of the possibility of metastasis, his eyes were removed and he was given artificial replacements.

He began playing guitar at the age of three, developing his unique style of playing it flat on his lap. At 17, he formed his first band, Blue Direction, playing bar-band cover tunes. But shortly thereafter, he met up with bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen and formed a trio, the Jeff Healey Band. In 1988, he signed with Arista Records and released his first album, “See The Light,” that contained the song Hideaway and was nominated for a Grammy for best Rock Instrumental Perfomance. At the same time they were recording “See The Light,” they were recording the sound track for “Roadhouse.”

Over the years, Jeff toured with numerous greats including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Dire Straits, Buddy Guy, BB King, ZZ Top, Steve Lukather, and Eric Clapton. Jeff had several more relapses of the cancer and on March 2, 2008 finally succumbed to its lung metastases. He is survived by his wife Cristie and two children. Retinoblastoma is genetically inherited and his son also has the disease. So listen to the incredible sounds of a fantastic guitarist and instead of suggesting a wine, how about you take the twenty or so bucks and send it off to one of the many cancer research foundations for children. Enjoy!


At the Islington Academy:



Stuck in the Middle With You:

Roadhouse Blues:

Confidence Man:

See the Light:

Yer Blues:

Breaking Down Blues:

Blue Jean Blues:

Joined At The Heart:

On Letterman:

Canada AM Blues:

1 comment:

Rick Daley said...

"Yeah, and I thought you'd be taller."

I heard of Jeff Healy through the radio and MTV, and recognized him right away in the movie. He had a great soul, it shone through his playing bright enough to blind you.