On Saturday, October 18th, Canadian blues rocker Jeff Healey was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame. Healey’s family, including his widow, Christie, were on hand to accept the honor at the unveiling of his star.
Canada’s Walk of Fame annually honors individuals for achievements in several areas of endeavor, including music, sports, film and television, literary, visual and performing arts, science, innovation, philanthropy and social justice. Candidates must have been born in or spent their creative or formative years in Canada. There is a minimum requirement of 10 successful years to qualify, in addition to having a recognized body of work that has had a significant influence on Canadian cultural heritage. “Canada’s Walk of Fame is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary talent this country has to offer, and this year’s inductees are a shining example of the tremendous contribution Canadians make to the cultural landscape,” said Barb Williams, Senior Vice President, Content.
Healey was no stranger to conquering adversity throughout his life, beginning at the age of one when he lost his eyes to a rare cancer of the eyes, retinoblastoma. Amazingly, he began playing guitar at the age of three. He would lay the instrument across his lap, allowing him to use all five fingers of his left hand to fret notes and chords.
Healey enjoyed a successful career playing blues, jazz, and rock. He would perform and record with such esteemed musicians as Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Rolling Stones, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and John Mayall. Along with the hit soundtrack to Road House, Healey recorded five albums with the Jeff Healey Band that were all very well received by fans and critics alike. He also recorded three albums of jazz, something he enjoyed immensely. Healey’s live performances were legendary for their intensity and energy.
In addition to his musical endeavors, Healey also lent his considerable efforts to advocating for the blind, and literacy campaigns. Being personally familiar with the insidious ravaging that cancer inflicts on patients, Healey supported Sick Kids Hospital’s Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund in every way he could. Sadly, he lost his own three year battle with cancer on March 2nd, 2008.
During his lifetime, Healey, along with his band were recognized with a Grammy Award nomination for the song “Hideaway,” for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. In 1990, the Jeff Healey Band won the Juno Award for Canadian Entertainer of the Year.
Since his death, Healey has been inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 2009, and in June of 2011, Woodford Park in Toronto was renamed Jeff Healey Park in his honor.