Eyesight to the Blind

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For Jesus' giving eyesight to the blind, see cures attributed to Jesus.
"Eyesight to the Blind"
Single by Sonny Boy Williamson II
B-side "Crazy 'Bout You, Baby"
Released 1951 (1951)
Format 10" 78rpm
Recorded [Version 1] January 4, 1951[1] in Jackson, Mississippi
[Versions 2/3] March 12, 1951[1] in Jackson, Mississippi
Genre Blues
Length 3:04
Label Trumpet 129[1]
Writer(s) Sonny Boy Williamson II
Producer(s) Lillian McMurry
Sonny Boy Williamson II singles chronology
"Eyesight to the Blind" (1951) "Do It If You Wanta"
"Eyesight to the Blind (The Hawker)"
Song by The Who from the album Tommy
Released May 23, 1969
Recorded September 19, 1968 to March 7, 1969
Genre Rock
Length 2:46
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Sonny Boy Williamson II
Producer(s) Kit Lambert
Tommy track listing

"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]

A 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 Allison Wonderland Anthology. Guitarist Mike Bloomfield recorded the song on I'm with You Always.

The song was also included in The Who's 1969 rock opera album Tommy. The song is parenthetically called "The Hawker". In the film version of Tommy, the song was performed by 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:


  1. ^ a b c d "Sonny Boy\'s Lonesome Cabin". Sonnyboy.com. 1998-05-05. Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  2. ^ "Sonny Boy\'s Lonesome Cabin". Sonnyboy.com. 1998-05-05. Retrieved 2014-05-29.