Monday, July 30, 2012
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Jeff Healey Band
Blues singer and guitarist Jeff Healey had his biggest success with the 1989 top five hit Angel Eyes. It gave him a solid fanbase until his 2008 death The major criticism of Healey is that he wasn't adventurous and should have taken more musical risks. I just don't think he was an adventurous guy. He played the kind of blues rock that he enjoyed listening to. Of course we can't forget the novelty of Healey's blindness and playing guitar in his lap. He was born Mar. 25, 1966 in Toronto and lost his eyes to cancer as a tot. He learned to play guitar in his lap as a child. As a teen, he played local clubs in the band Blue Direction and hosted a blues show on CIUT, the University Of Toronto radio station. He formed The Jeff Healey Band with bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen and got a record deal with Arista when they were spotted playing the Toronto club Albert's Hall by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins. Angel Eyes was the second single from Healey's 1988 debut album See The Light. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989. it was written by John Hiatt and veteran songwriter Fred Koller. It appears that Hiatt recorded Angel Eyes but hadn't released it. The studio recording appears on the 1998 Capitol comp The Best Of John Hiatt. I guess producer Greg Ladanyi found it somewhere. The Jeff Healey Band appeared as the bar band in the 1989 film Road House. They never had another hit single in the US but the one hit was enough to earn a good fanbase. They were a bigger deal in Canada especially in Toronto. They left Arista in 1995 after recording four albums. This Sony budget comp covers his Arista recordings. In 2000, Healey formed The Jazz Wizards and released CDs on the Canadian label Stony Plain. He started playing trumpet and this band was traditional jazz as opposed to blues. Healey was an avid record collector. He owned 30,000 78rpm vintage jazz recordings. My late father would love him. He also owned the club Healey's at Bathurst & Queen in downtown Toronto and played there frequently. Jeff Healey underwent cancer surgery in Jan. 2007 but died on Mar. 2, 2008 at age 41. He was an international star but never left Toronto. He's a hometown legend. Here's the video for Angel Eyes by The Jeff Healey Band.