4/3/08: JEFF HEALEY: 1966-2008

The Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey died at the St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto from the consequences of lung cancer diagnosed in late 2006. He was 41 years old. Healey, who had been blind since the age of one, had become well known in the late 1980s with a cover of The Beatles' 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. People remembered his particular way of playing the guitar, like a piano resting on his legs.

He was diagnosed with the disease at the end of 2006 and Healey was unable to win his personal battle against it. An illness that marked his life from the very beginning: at the age of one year, both eyes had been removed due to a tumour.
A tragedy that later influenced his original playing. Picking up the guitar for the first time at the age of three, Healey had no idea what the common way of picking it up was and so he developed a particular technique whereby he would hold the instrument outstretched and against his legs and play it with both hands as if it were a piano.
His best-known album is his debut, 'See The Light', released in 1988 and featuring a remake of the song signed by George Harrison and contained in the Beatles' 'White Album' (1968). After achieving success, the singer-guitarist had gradually abandoned rock and moved towards jazz sounds, which had effectively distanced him from the general public. After having been the guitarist in the Jeff Healey Band, he had in fact also decided to take up a new instrument, the trumpet, and then began to explore the jazz repertoire of the 1920s and 1930s.

He had finished recording a rock-blues album, 'Mess Of Blues', which will be released in April.

He last toured Italy in 2000 with Barley Arts (see poster in photo).