Skip to comments.(Jeff) Healey had a love of life
Posted on 03/08/2008 7:36:37 PM PST by avg_freeper
Jeff Healey is dead. There is no more stark way to say it. Sadly, discussing the end of this man's life in less bleak terminology will not change the outcome. Jeff Healey is dead at the age of 41.
I first learned about Jeff Healey in the 1990s, thanks to my teenage daughters. Then he was an up-and-coming Canadian rocker who received great notoriety for his incredible guitar skills. Though blind by age one due to a rare form of cancer known as retinoblastoma, Healey learned the intricacies of the guitar, starting to play in his own unorthodox manner before he reached school age.
Healey was never known as a blind musician in our household, or even a great blind musician. Instead, he was simply a great rocker and a talented musician. Period. No hyphens, no hesitation.
Most of us have experienced discrimination or rejection by some group when a child. No doubt Jeff at some points in his life had those who dismissed him due to his disability, or made fun of his differences. As an adult, though, Jeff inspired many children and youth to live their dreams. He was the poster child for every person who felt inadequate and misunderstood, because Jeff Healey proved that living your dreams is not simply a far-off possibility. It can be a present reality.
Healey was not content to be atop the rock scene in Canada, and indeed throughout North America. In more recent years, he redefined himself and his musical interests by becoming a touring jazz musician. It was in that role I met him on St. Joseph's Island less than two years ago.
Healey had a love of life, and an ability to enthrall an audience, that cannot be taught. He stayed after the concert to interact with the patrons. You had a sense that he loved being in this small patch of northern Ontario. He did not need the advantage of sight to be able to see the unique nature and gifts of people in all parts of this land.
Jeff Healey had a way of seeing the positive in all that he did. When commenting on his then upcoming lung surgery in January 2007, just before the opening of his own jazz club in downtown Toronto within the theatre district, Healey quipped: "I've had 40 good years, you get a bump every now and then."
This latest bump ended a brilliant musician's life many years before it should have.
I was left musing about the fact that many people have the courage to "reinvent themselves" during their lifetime. Healey the rocker became Healey the jazz enthusiast. The guitar player also played a mean trumpet. In actual fact, both personalities were always part of who Jeff was. It just took courage to share both of these divergent parts to an audience that had stereotyped him into one genre.
The Lenten journey of Jesus was about the struggle to discern who he should be, and what he should do. People close to him wanted to make him into a ruler, a miracle worker, a famous celebrity. Jesus simply wanted to do what God called him to do - care about people.
He redefined religious authority when he moved from the power of the great religious leaders of his day to be an itinerant teacher and preacher who simply offered his gifts to ordinary people wherever they may be found.
Ordinary people like the folk of St. Joseph's Island.
Jesus never made it to St. Joseph's Island in person. I am so pleased, in retrospect, that Jeff Healey did ... and even more delighted I heard him.
Rev. Dr. Bill Steadman is Executive Minister of Financial Stewardship for The United Church of Canada, and a former minister at St. Andrew's United Church in downtown Sudbury.
I watched Roadhouse when I learned he died.
I watched it again the other when I found out about Patrick Swayze.
Not sure I’ve ever hear of him... but I like what I read here! Sad — but he’s now in a better place.
Remember the song “While my guitar gently weeps”?
It sure was! Great guy movie and then us gals have Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliot to look at the whole way. Yum Yum.
And Kelly Lynch I like her
If you can get some of his CDs you will enjoy them.
You might enjoy this.
I believe George of the Beatles wrote that song, but Healey’s version was exceptional...JFK
I like “Angel Eyes” a lot too.
I took my own advice and dowloaded Angel Eyes and am listening as I type. Great stuff - gonna listen to some other songs too. Then buy some albums to help out his estate while acknowledging I’m putting some dough in some liberal record companies coffer.
I was posted but a different article.
RIP Jeff Healy
Beatles, white album. Yes.
I’ve always liked Jeff’s cover better.
I did a search on “Jeff” and “Healey” and got nothing.
Roadhouse was on 2 nights ago, and it was very sad to see Healey and Swayze.
here ya go-
it doesn’t matter - this was a very nice article to post
A great loss.
If there is a Rock 'n' Roll Heaven....you know they got one hell of a band.
Rip it up Jeff baby.
Thanks for the idea.
search feature has been hit and miss of late.
Yep, tried another search and didn't even catch this one. Workin' out the bugs I guess.
The name is......Dalton
I just did also...GREAT musician and a GREAT song. Brings back many memories. Rest In Peace Jeff!!
“I thought you’d be bigger.”
John Hiatt wrote Angel Eyes. The only one who sung it better was Healey.
Hiatt writes great stuff
Jeff’s version of “Run Through The Jungle” was so good it was scary.
“Remember the song While my guitar gently weeps?”
He was 1 when it was written.
My understanding is that the default search is for keyword, and you have to use something like “title:” before your search to search by title. Pity really since I think most people use it mostly to check for duplicate posts.
I was thinking the same thing...the Healey/Swayze connection...God Bless both of them.
If you like that song, try to get your hands on the version that Kenny Rankin sings...you won’t regret it.
I was very fortunate to have seen Jeff open for Bonnie Raitt at the Minnesota State Fair. Bonnie was headlining but I was there to see Jeff. It was the day after Stevie Ray Vaughn was killed and they had both shared the stage with SRV the night before. Bonnie was crying all night and played some of the greatest slide I”ve ever heard on a pink strat just given to her by Eric Clapton. Quite a night.