Jeff Healey 1966-2008

It is hard for me to accept that it has been almost fifteen years now since the world lost a real special musician, Jeff Healey. Before he too passed away, Joe Cocker told me that the obituary headline in the Los Angeles Times  for legendary music giant Ray Charles was, “Blind Crooner Ray Charles Dies”. Cocker could not believe that a major U.S. newspaper could reduce the life, talent, and immeasurable influence of Mr. Charles merely to that of his disability, a fact which the music giant proved irrelevant from the outset of his career. Similarly, every headline before and since the cancer-related premature death March 2, 2008 of  blues-rock guitar phenomenon Jeff Healey has included the qualifier “blind guitarist”, as if Healey’s mind-blowing facility and unique technique on the instrument, his more-than-competent rich vocals, Healey’s  uncanny choice of material (many of his most famous by John Hiatt including “Confidence Man” and “Angel Eyes”), and Jeff’s wicked ultra-dry sense of humor were less defining of the man than his inability to read the drive-through menu at Taco Bell. Listen to this March 1989 interview on my Q102 Dallas/Ft.Worth radio show, then play the ironically-titled album See the Light . To paraphrase Tina Turner, “What’s blind got to do with it”? –Redbeard