Rock and roll lost one of it’s greatest and most underappreciated guitarists yesterday as Jeff Healey passed at the age of 41 from a rare cancer that he had battled his entire life. The cancer, retino blastoma, took Healey’s eyes when he was one year old. Consequently, when he became interested in music as a child, he taught himself to play conventional guitars laid across his lap in an unorthodox style. This did not prevent him from developing a unique and compelling sound that made his long-time eponymous band stand out like no other.
I first heard of Healey in 1989 when his band released See The Light. The album became a hit thanks to the ballad “Angel Eyes” but was filled top-to-bottom with choice covers and blistering originals, such as the title track. Healey helped to provide a great music alternative for us teenagers who had no use for hair-metal or bubble gum pop.
Healey never conquered the charts again like he did in ’89, but he continued to be prolific and released several blues and jazz fusion albums over the years. In many ways he was one of a kind.
Rest in peace, Mr. Healey.