Norman Jeffrey Healey (March 25, 1966 – March 2, 2008) was a Canadian jazz and blues-rock vocalist, 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".
|Birth name||Norman Jeffrey Healey|
|Born||March 25, 1966|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died||March 2, 2008 (aged 41)|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Genres||Blues rock, blues, jazz, rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, guitarist, songwriter, DJ, actor|
|Labels||Arista, BMG, Sony, Eagle, Sensation, Healey-O-Phonic, Stony Plain, Convexe Entertainment, Provogue, CBC, Arbor|
|Associated acts||The Jeff Healey Band, The Jazz Wizards (aka Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards), Jeff Healey's Blues Band (aka The Healey's House Band), Blue Direction|
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Healey was raised in the city's west end. He was adopted as an infant; 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. His eyes had to be surgically removed, and he was given ocular prostheses.
Early career and successEdit
Healey began playing guitar when he was three, developing his unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap. At age 9, his musical talents were showcased in an interview on the TVOntario children's programme Cucumber. When he was 15, Jeff Healey formed the band Blue Direction, a four-piece that primarily played bar-band cover tunes and featured bassist Jeremy Littler, drummer Graydon Chapman, and a schoolmate, Rob Quail on second guitar. This band played various local clubs in Toronto, including the Colonial Tavern.
Shortly thereafter he was introduced to two musicians, bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen, with whom he formed a trio, The Jeff Healey Band. This 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).
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. 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. 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. 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.
Later work and lifeEdit
By the release of the 2000 album Get Me Some, Healey began to concentrate his talent in a different musical direction closer to his heart, the appreciation for another original American music form, 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 jazz.fm.
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.
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.
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. In March 2016 the posthumous album Heal My Soul was released, followed by the companion album Holding On in December of the same year. Both records were compiled from unreleased recordings by Roger Costa. The 12 track Heal My Soul featured six covers and a number of collaborations with Marti Frederiksen, Arnold Lanni and Stevie Salas. The 15 track Holding On album contains ten live tracks recorded in 1999 at the Rockefeller Music Hall in Norway and five studio tracks.
Illness and deathEdit
On January 11, 2007, Healey underwent surgery to remove metastatic tissue from both lungs. In the previous 18 months, he had two sarcomas removed from his legs. On March 2, 2008, Healey died of sarcoma in his home town of Toronto at the age of 41. 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.
Jeff Healey BandEdit
|Year||Album||Label and Catalog Number||CAN||AUS
|1988||See the Light||Arista AL-8553||25||33||58||22|
|1990||Hell to Pay||Arista ARCD-8632||5||20||18||27||
|1992||Feel This||Arista B000002VML||27||37||72||174||
|1995||Cover to Cover||Arista B00008G71N||44||80||50||-||
|2000||Get Me Some||Eagle B00004T98N||–||–||–||–|
Jeff Healey solo and with The Jazz WizardsEdit
|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 soloEdit
- 2002: Among Friends
- 2003: Live at Healey's (Bolder)
- 2004: Adventures in Jazzland (Healeyophonic)
- 2006: It's Tight Like That (Stony Plain)
- 2008: Mess of Blues
- 2009: Songs From The Road (Stony Plain)
- 2010: Last Call (Stony Plain Records)
- 2016: Heal My Soul (Convexe Entertainment)
- 2020: Heal My Soul: Deluxe Edition (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
- 1993: Live in Belgium (CD & DVD) (Eagle Vision)
- 2003: Live at Healey's (Bolder)
- 2005: The Jeff Healey Band 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) - 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 / Eagle Records / Eagle Rock)
- 1998 The Very Best of Jeff Healey (RCA)
- 1998 The Very Best of Jeff Healey (MSI Music Distribution)
- 1999 Master Hits (Arista)
- 2004 The Platinum and Gold Collection (Arista)
- 2008 Super Hits (Sony)
- 2013 House on Fire – Demos & Rarities (Eagle Rock North)
- 2016 Holding On: A Heal My Soul Companion (Convexe Entertainment)
- 1995 "Let It Rock" (Quality Records) Ronnie Hawkins' 60th Birthday Bash, Live at Massey Hall, featuring members of The Hawks, The Band, Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Larry Gowan, & more.
- 1997 Hits of the 80's
- 2002 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
- 2004 What's Love? A Tribute to Tina Turner (Versailles)
- 2006 Ruf Records Anthology: 12 Years of Where Blues Crosses Over (Ruf Records)
- 2006 Saturday Night Blues: 20 Years (CBC)
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1986||"Adrianna / See the Light"||—||—||—||—||—||single only|
|1988||"Confidence Man"||—||84||76||—||11||See the Light|
|"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|
|1991||"How Long Can a Man Be Strong"||8||—||—||—||34|
|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|
|"Stuck in the Middle with You"||33||96||79||—||39|
|2000||"My Life Story"||—||—||—||—||—||Get Me Some|
|"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.|
- 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.
- Rog (October 22, 2020). "The Tale of Blue Direction". jeffhealey.com. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
- "Jeff Healey". Cbc.ca. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- "RPM Top 100 Albums". RPM Magazine Volume 50, No. 24 October 14, 1989.
- Arista Records LP AL-8632, 1990.
- Rog (January 20, 2016). "The 50th Celebrations Start Now!". Jeffhealey.com. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- The Ultimate Amanda Marshall Homepage. Pages.infinit.net. Retrieved on 2011-09-28.
- "Independent Music Awards – 8th Annual Winners". Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Park renamed to commemorate Jeff Healey - CBC News". CBC. June 4, 2011. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- "Our consolation is in the stardust of his songs". Mississauga.com. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- "Heal My Soul - Jeff Healey | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Holding On: A Heal My Soul Companion - Review". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Yates, Henry (February 23, 2016). "Heal My Soul: The story of the great 'lost' Jeff Healey album". The Blues Magazine. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Mitchell, John (August 16, 2016). "Jeff Healey – Heal My Soul | Album Review". Blues Blast Magazine. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- "Jeff Healey – Holding On – A Heal My Soul Companion". All About The Rock. November 23, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- "Jeff Healey – Holding On". The Rocking Magpie. November 22, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- "Blues guitarist Jeff Healey recovering from lung cancer surgery". CBC News. January 16, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- Douglas Martin (March 4, 2008). "Jeff Healey, Guitarist and Singer, Dies at 41". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
- "Blind rocker Healey dies aged 41", BBC News, March 3, 2008,
- 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
- "Greatest Canadian". prezi.com. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: "australian-charts.com > Jeff Healey in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- "Confidence Man": "Chartifacts Week Ending 11th June 1995 – Issue No. 278 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 278)". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- "Angel Eyes": "The ARIA Report! Week Commencing: 12 July 2004 – Issue No. 750" (PDF). Pandora Archive (original document published by ARIA). p. 2. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- Top 100 peaks from January 1990 to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- "Stuck in the Middle with You": "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 16 Jul 1995". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved June 1, 2017. N.B. The HP column displays the highest peak reached.
- "Official Charts > Jeff Healey Band". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
- "Billboard > Artists / Jeff Healey > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- "Gold/Platinum". Music Canada. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
- "Certified Awards". bpi.co.uk. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015.
- "Gold & Platinum Results for Jeff Healey". riaa.com. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
- Re-released 2006, Stony Plain.
- Subtitled "The Thursday Night Recordings".
- Jeff Healey and The Jazz Wizards.
- Rog (March 25, 2016). "Live, Love, Celebrate". Jeffhealey.com. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- Rog (April 20, 2020). "Heal My Soul: Deluxe – Pre-Order Now!". Jeffhealey.com. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- 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.
- 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; www.myblogutopia.com.
- Healey plays on "I Can't Stand The Rain", with Alannah Myles.
- Healey performs "Workin' Overtime" with Walter Trout.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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) www.jeffhealey.com
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