Monday, March 3, 2008

Jeff Healey, 1966-2008

Sad news in the music world with yesterday's passing of guitarist Jeff Healey, who died of cancer just three weeks shy of his 42nd birthday.  Seems like the dice were loaded from the start for this guy, as he lost his eyes at age one to a disease called retinoblastoma, and battled cancer throughout the rest of his life.  Being blind didn't stop him from teaching himself to play guitar by laying it in his lap and strumming it like an autoharp.  Despite being so unorthodox, his style worked well and he was highly thought-of by his peers.

Healey is most famous for the hit song "Angel Eyes", written by my man John Hiatt, who never recorded it himself, although he does perform it live now and then.  I saw Jeff open for Z.Z. Top in 1990, and was rather impressed.  So was the right Rev. Billy Gibbons, who remarked during Z.Z.'s set, "How 'bout that Jeff Healeyhe's something else..." before dedicating "Blue Jean Blues" to him.

Rest in peace, Jeff...

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