Eyesight to the Blind" is a 12-bar blues song originally written and recorded in 1951 by Sonny Boy Williamson II (Aleck "Rice" Miller), and subsequently recorded by many other musicians including The Who as part of the rock opera . Tommy
Sonny Boy Williamson versions [ edit ]
The song was recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson in 1951 as his first
single release on Trumpet Records. Three versions of the song were released as 78rpm singles. The first version featured Sonny Boy Williamson II ( vocals/ harp), Willie Love ( piano), Joe Willie Wilkins ( guitar), Elmore James (guitar), and Joe Dyson (drums); the second and third versions had Sonny Boy Williamson II, Willie Love, Henry Reed ( bass), and Joe Dyson. [1 ]
In 1957, Sonny Boy Williamson re-recorded the song on
Checker Records, with Otis Spann (piano), Robert Lockwood (guitar), Luther Tucker (guitar), Willie Dixon (bass) and Fred Below (drums), under the title " Born Blind". [2 ]
Other versions [ edit ]
blues standard, the original Sonny Boy Williamson song has been covered many times. The most successful early version was that by The Larks, originally a vocal group which had developed out of gospel group, The Selah Jubilee Singers. The group's recording of "Eyesight to the Blind", with vocals and guitar by Allen Bunn, who later worked solo as Tarheel Slim, reached #5 on the Billboard R&B charts in July 1951.
Mose Allison released the song on Seventh Son and is featured on . Guitarist Allison Wonderland Anthology Mike Bloomfield recorded the song on . I'm with You Always
The song was also included in
The Who's 1969 rock opera album . The song is Tommy parenthetically called "The Hawker". In the film version of , the song was performed by Tommy Eric Clapton and Arthur Brown. It is the only song in Tommy not written by a band member.
Richie Havens sang the vocals on the song in the orchestral version of Tommy backed by the London Symphony Orchestra in 1972.
Versions of the song have also been recorded by other rock artists:
References [ edit ]