Jeff Healey was a gifted and unique guitarist, playing the instrument as it lay flat in his lap and performing fluid bends and vibrato in an idiosyncratic blend of blues, rock and jazz.
Healey, who lost his sight at the age of one to retinoblastoma, was born in 1966 and began playing guitar when he was three. By the early Eighties he was performing with the Jeff Healey Band and beginning to build a name for himself.
He made his breakthrough in 1988 with his Grammy-nominated debut album, See the Light, which included his hit song “Angel Eyes.” During the making of the album, Healey and his band were also filmed for their appearance in the 1989 movie Road House, featuring Patrick Swayze.
But in the years before he found commercial fame, Healey was becoming a star among other guitarists who appreciated his talents and sharing the stage with artists like B.B. King, George Harrison and Mark Knopfler.
In the clip below, Healey teams up with another guitar great from the time, Stevie Ray Vaughan, for a 1987 cover of “Look at Little Sister.” The performance, which includes Vaughan’s band Double Trouble, was recorded for a CBC series called It’s Only Rock ’N’ Roll.