Jeff Healey

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Jeff Healey
Jeff Healey & Tom Lavin (Powder Blues Band)
Jeff Healey & Tom Lavin (Powder Blues Band)
Background information
Birth nameNorman Jeffrey Healey
Born(1966-03-25)March 25, 1966
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedMarch 2, 2008(2008-03-02) (aged 41)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation(s)Musician, guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor
Instrument(s)Guitar, trumpet, vocals
Years active1981–2008
LabelsArista, BMG, Sony, Eagle, Sensation, Healey-O-Phonic, Stony Plain, Convexe Entertainment, Provogue, CBC, Arbor
Spouse(s)Krista Miller (m. 1992, div. 1998), Cristie Hall (m. 2004)

Norman Jeffrey Healey (March 25, 1966 – March 2, 2008)[1] was a Canadian blues, rock and jazz singer, guitarist, and songwriter who attained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. He reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with "Angel Eyes" and reached the Top 10 in Canada with the songs "I Think I Love You Too Much" and "How Long Can a Man Be Strong".

Early life[edit]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada,[2] Healey was raised in the city's west end. He was adopted as an infant;[3] his adoptive father was a firefighter. When he was almost one year old, Healey lost his sight due to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes.[2] His eyes had to be surgically removed, and he was given ocular prostheses.

Early career and success[edit]

Healey performing on August 31, 2002

Healey began playing guitar when he was three, developing his unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap.[2] At nine years old, his musical talents were showcased in an interview on the TVOntario children's programme Cucumber. When he was 15, Healey formed the band Blue Direction,[4] a four-piece that primarily played bar-band cover tunes and featured bassist Jeremy Littler, drummer Graydon Chapman, and schoolmate Rob Quail on second guitar. The band played at clubs in Toronto,[2] including the Colonial Tavern.

Healey began hosting a jazz and blues show on radio station CIUT-FM, where he was known for playing from his massive collection of vintage 78 rpm gramophone records.[5]

Shortly thereafter he was introduced to bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen, with whom he formed a trio, the Jeff Healey Band. The band made their first public appearance at the Birds Nest, located upstairs at Chicago's Diner on Queen Street West in Toronto. They received a write-up in Toronto's NOW magazine, and soon were playing almost nightly in local clubs, such as Grossman's Tavern and the famed blues club Albert's Hall (where Jeff Healey was discovered by guitarists Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins).[2]

After being signed to Arista Records in 1988, the band released the album See the Light, which appeared on the RPM Top 100 chart in 1989.[6] It featured the hit single "Angel Eyes" and the song "Hideaway", which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. While the band was recording See the Light, they were also filming (and recording for the soundtrack of) the Patrick Swayze film Road House.[2] Healey had numerous acting scenes in the movie with Swayze, as his band was the house cover band for the bar featured in the movie.[2] In 1990, the band won the Juno Award for Canadian Entertainer of the Year. The albums Hell to Pay and Feel This gave Healey 10 charting singles in Canada between 1990 and 1994, including a cover of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", which featured George Harrison and Jeff Lynne on backing vocals and acoustic guitar.[7]

Later work and life[edit]

Jeff Healey live in 2007 with the Jazz Wizards

By the release of the 2000 album Get Me Some, Healey began to concentrate on jazz.

He went on to release three CDs of music of traditional American jazz from the 1920s and 1930s. He had been sitting in with these types of bands around Toronto since the beginning of his music career. Though known primarily as a guitarist, Healey also played trumpet during live performances. His main jazz group for touring and recording was Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards.

Healey was an avid record collector and amassed a collection of well over 30,000 78 rpm records. Starting in 1990 he hosted a radio program of very early jazz on CIUT at the University of Toronto with Colin Bray. Later he went national on CBC Radio's program entitled My Kind of Jazz, in which he played records from his vast vintage jazz collection. He moved the show two years later to Jazz FM - CJRT; as a part of ongoing celebrations for what would have been Healey's 50th birthday in 2016, the latter program began to air in repeats Wednesdays 9pm on[8]

For many years, Healey toured throughout North America and Europe and performed at his club, "Healey's" on Bathurst Street in Toronto, where he played with his blues band on Thursday nights and also with his jazz group on Saturday afternoons. The club moved to a bigger location at 56 Blue Jays Way and was rechristened "Jeff Healey's Roadhouse." Though he had lent his name to the club and often played there, Jeff Healey did not own or manage the bar. (The name came from the 1989 film, Road House, in which Healey appeared.) At the time of his death, he had been planning to perform a series of shows in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands, with his other band, the Jeff Healey Blues Band (aka the "Healey's House Band") in April 2008.

Over the years, Healey toured and sat in with many well-known performers, including The Allman Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, BB King, ZZ Top, Steve Lukather, Eric Clapton and many more. In 2006, Healey appeared on Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan's CD/DVD Gillan's Inn.

Healey discovered and helped develop the careers of other musical artists, including Terra Hazelton, Amanda Marshall,[9] Shannon Curfman, and Philip Sayce[10]

In early 2009, Healey's album Mess of Blues won in The 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Blues Album.[11]

In 2009, Healey was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame.

In June 2011, Woodford Park in Toronto was renamed Jeff Healey Park in his honour.[12]

In 2014, Healey was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. In September 2016, Jeff Healey was inducted into the Mississauga Music Walk of Fame.[13] In March 2016 the posthumous album Heal My Soul was released,[14] followed by the companion album Holding On in December of the same year.[15] Both records were compiled from unreleased recordings by Roger Costa.[16] The 12 track Heal My Soul featured six covers and a number of collaborations with Marti Frederiksen, Arnold Lanni and Stevie Salas.[17] The 15 track Holding On album contains ten live tracks recorded in 1999 at the Rockefeller Music Hall in Norway and five studio tracks.[18][19]

Illness and death[edit]

On January 11, 2007, Healey underwent surgery to remove metastatic cancer tissue from both lungs. In the previous 18 months, he had two sarcomas removed from his legs.[20] On March 2, 2008, Healey died of sarcoma in his home town of Toronto at the age of 41.[21][22] He was buried at Park Lawn Cemetery, Mausoleum & Cremation Centre in Etobicoke, Ontario. Healey's death came a month before the release of Mess of Blues, which was his first rock/blues album in eight years.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Healey married Krista Miller in 1992; they had a daughter and were divorced in 1998. He married Cristie Hall in 2004 and had a son with her.[21][24]


Jeff Healey Band[edit]

Year Album Label and Catalog Number CAN AUS
1988 See the Light Arista ARCD-8553 25 33 58 22
1990 Hell to Pay Arista ARCD-8632 5 20 18 27
  • CAN: 2× Platinum
  • BPI: Silver
  • RIAA: Gold
1992 Feel This Arista 07822-18706-2 27 37 72 174
  • CAN: Platinum
1995 Cover to Cover Arista 07822-18770-2 44 80 50 -
  • CAN: Gold
2000 Get Me Some Eagle ER-202042

Jeff Healey solo and with The Jazz Wizards[edit]

Year Album Label and Catalog Number US
2002 Among Friends Stony Plain B000I2KPO6
2004 Adventures in Jazzland Stony Plain B000I2KPOG
2006 It's Tight Like That Stony Plain B000ETRIZ2
2008 Mess of Blues Stony Plain B0016MX3F0
2009 Songs From The Road Stony Plain B002F040F4
2010 Last Call Stony Plain B0036WL32S

Jeff Healey solo[edit]

  • 2002: Among Friends (Sensation; Stony Plain)[32]
  • 2003: Live at Healey's (Bolder)[33]
  • 2004: Adventures in Jazzland (HealeyOphonic; Stony Plain)[32]
  • 2006: It's Tight Like That (Stony Plain)[34]
  • 2008: Mess of Blues (Ruf; Stony Plain)
  • 2009: Songs From The Road (Ruf; Stony Plain)
  • 2010: Last Call (Stony Plain)
  • 2016: Heal My Soul (Convexe Entertainment; Provogue)[35]
  • 2016: Holding On: A 'Heal My Soul' Companion (Convexe Entertainment; Provogue)
  • 2020: Heal My Soul: Deluxe Edition (Eagle Rock Entertainment)[36]

Live albums[edit]

  • 1993: Live in Belgium (CD & DVD) (Eagle Vision)
  • 2003: Live at Healey's (Bolder)[33]
  • 2005: Live at Montreux 1999 (Eagle)
  • 2011: Live at Grossman's 1994 (Eagle Rock North/Convexe)
  • 2013: As The Years Go Passing By: Live in Germany 1989-1995-2000 (in-akustik) - note: the first release of archival material compiled with the participation and full approval of the Jeff Healey Estate.
  • 2013: Live From NYC (Eagle Rock)
  • 2014: Live at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, 1993 (Eagle Rock)


  • 1998: The Very Best of Jeff Healey (RCA)[37]
  • 1998: The Very Best of Jeff Healey (MSI Music Distribution)[38]
  • 1999: Master Hits (Arista)
  • 2004: The Platinum and Gold Collection (Arista)
  • 2008: Super Hits (Sony BMG)
  • 2008: Legacy: Volume One (Ear Music; Arbor Records Ltd)
  • 2013: Playlist: The Very Best of the Jeff Healey Band (Arista)
  • 2013: House on Fire – Demos & Rarities (Eagle Rock North)
  • 2015: The Best of the Stony Plain Years (Stony Plain)

Appearances on other albums[edit]

Compilation inclusions[edit]


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US US Rock
1986 "Adrianna / See the Light" single only
1988 "Confidence Man" 36
84 76 11 See the Light
1989 "Angel Eyes" 16 79 86 5 24
"See the Light" 33
"Raising Heaven / Hoochie Coochie Man" (by Patrick Swayze / The Jeff Healey Band) 29 Road House Soundtrack
"When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky" 99
1990 "I Think I Love You Too Much" 5 98 5 Hell to Pay
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" 27 85 7
"Full Circle" 72 16
1991 "How Long Can a Man Be Strong" 8 34
"How Much" 32
1992 "Cruel Little Number" 17 2 Feel This
1993 "Heart of an Angel" 52 20
"Lost in Your Eyes" 5 91
"Leave the Light On" 60
1994 "You're Coming Home" 40
1995 "I Got a Line on You" 34 Cover To Cover
"Angel" 33
"Stuck in the Middle with You" 33 96 79 39
2000 "My Life Story" Get Me Some
"I Tried"
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.


  • 1989: Road House as Cody
  • 1999: Live at Montreux[43]
  • 2004: See The Light (BMG)[44]
  • 2013: As The Years Go Passing By: Live in Germany 1989-1995-2000 (in-akustik)[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Blind 'Angel Eyes' Singer Jeff Healey Dies of Cancer at 41". Associated Press. March 25, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1116. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  3. ^ Jessey Bird (March 3, 2008). "Award-winning musician 'followed his own passion'". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on March 5, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
  4. ^ Rog (October 22, 2020). "The Tale of Blue Direction". Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  5. ^ "Jeff Healey". Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums". RPM Magazine Volume 50, No. 24 October 14, 1989.
  7. ^ Arista Records LP AL-8632, 1990.
  8. ^ Rog (January 20, 2016). "The 50th Celebrations Start Now!". Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  9. ^ The Ultimate Amanda Marshall Homepage. Retrieved on 2011-09-28.
  10. ^ "About | Philip Sayce". Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  11. ^ "Independent Music Awards – 8th Annual Winners". Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  12. ^ "Park renamed to commemorate Jeff Healey - CBC News". CBC. June 4, 2011. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  13. ^ "Our consolation is in the stardust of his songs". Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "Heal My Soul - Jeff Healey | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  15. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Holding On: A Heal My Soul Companion - Review". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  16. ^ Yates, Henry (February 23, 2016). "Heal My Soul: The story of the great 'lost' Jeff Healey album". The Blues Magazine. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  17. ^ Mitchell, John (August 16, 2016). "Jeff Healey – Heal My Soul | Album Review". Blues Blast Magazine. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Jeff Healey – Holding On – A Heal My Soul Companion". All About The Rock. November 23, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  19. ^ "Jeff Healey – Holding On". The Rocking Magpie. November 22, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  20. ^ "Blues guitarist Jeff Healey recovering from lung cancer surgery". CBC News. January 16, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Douglas Martin (March 4, 2008). "Jeff Healey, Guitarist and Singer, Dies at 41". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
  22. ^ "Blind rocker Healey dies aged 41", BBC News, March 3, 2008,
  23. ^ Greg Quill (March 3, 2008). "Jeff Healey, 41: Canadian musician". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 26, 2009. At the time of his death Healey was planning to release his first rock/blues album in eight years, Mess of Blues
  24. ^ "Greatest Canadian". Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  25. ^ a b Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
  26. ^ a b "Official Charts > Jeff Healey Band". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  27. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Jeff Healey > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  28. ^ "Gold/Platinum". Music Canada. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  29. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  30. ^ "Certified Awards". Archived from the original on March 15, 2015.
  31. ^ "Gold & Platinum Results for Jeff Healey". Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  32. ^ a b Re-released 2006, Stony Plain.
  33. ^ a b Subtitled "The Thursday Night Recordings".
  34. ^ Jeff Healey and The Jazz Wizards.
  35. ^ Rog (March 25, 2016). "Live, Love, Celebrate". Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  36. ^ Rog (April 20, 2020). "Heal My Soul: Deluxe – Pre-Order Now!". Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  37. ^ CD re-release 2003 on RCA Camden. However, "(w)ith the 2004 merger of BMG (RCA Victor's parent company) and Sony (Columbia Records' parent company), the Camden label...(was) abandoned", implying that the re-released greatest hits package was discontinued shortly thereafter. See RCA Camden.
  38. ^ Collection issued in Germany and imported via MSI Music Distribution, based in Florida. At the time, MSI Music Distribution was one of the largest importers of recorded music in the United States. See In Other News! Super D buys MSI Music. Entry of September 13, 2007;
  39. ^ Healey plays on "I Can't Stand The Rain", with Alannah Myles.
  40. ^ Healey performs "Workin' Overtime" with Walter Trout.
  41. ^ A compilation album of live performances from the Saturday Night Blues radio program on CBC Radio, hosted by Holger Petersen. Healey's "Anything For You" (Also known as "I Would Do Anything For You", originally recorded on the Among Friends album) is included.
  42. ^ "RPM Magazine Vol.49 No.11 - January 14, 1989 - page 6" (PDF).
  43. ^ Re-released 2005, RED Distribution. Includes Jeff Healey Band 1999 performance at the Montreux Festival, plus 1997 performances of four songs at Stravinsky Hall, also in Montreux.
  44. ^ Three video clips and live performances of 10 songs taped April 14, 1989 in London, England. Includes previously unreleased video clip "When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky."
  45. ^ The first release of archival material compiled with the participation and full approval of the Jeff Healey Estate. (3CD/2DVD deluxe ed. – also available as 3 CD set)

External links[edit]