Norman Jeffrey "Jeff" Healey (March 25, 1966 March 2, 2008) was a Canadian musician. At the age of eight months, he was stricken with retinoblastoma, a rare ocular cancer. He underwent surgery to remove both eyes, which rendered him blind for life. Jeff took up guitar at age 3, developing a unique playing technique in which he lay the instrument flat across his lap, with his left hand palm-down over the fretboard, resulting in a characteristic richness and fluidity that would become his signature style. As a teenager, he began establishing a name for himself by playing coffeehouses and bars around Toronto.
In 1989, after a chance discovery by Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Jeff Healey Band signed with Arista Records and launched their debut album, spawning the John Hiatt-written single "Angel Eyes," which peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Healey also appeared in the So Bad, It's Good Patrick Swayze movie Road House, as a blind white guy who plays a mean blues guitar. The band went on to release several more blues albums. They toured extensively and developed a loyal following.
Later on, Jeff got married and started a family, as well as releasing a few jazz albums with his side project, the Jazz Wizards. Sadly, he succumbed to a recurrence of the cancer in 2008.
Tropes associated with him include:
- Blind Musician: At eight months, he got infected with retinoblastoma, a rare ocular cancer, which necessitated the doctors' decision to remove both eyes to prevent further spread. His eyes were replaced with prosthetic ones, but he remained blind for life. However, it didn't stop him from developing good guitar at the age of 3, and his blindness made him adapt by developing a unique playing technique in which he lay the instrument flat across his lap, with his left hand palm-down over the fretboard, resulting in a characteristic richness and fluidity that would become his signature style.
- Canada, Eh?: He was born in Toronto, Canada.
- Happily Adopted: He never knew his natural parents, but the couple who adopted him were supportive and encouraging.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: A gender-inverted example in "Angel Eyes", which is about a guy who has a crush on a beautiful girl he believes he has no chance with because all the other guys are crushing on the same girl. When the girl does notice him (and returns his crush), he is so baffled that he asks "the stars above" how he managed to get the girl's attention and why.So tonight I'll ask the stars above
"How did I ever win your love?"
What did I do?
What did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way?
- Inspirationally Disabled