The story of Jeff Healy and his 'Angel Eyes'

Published April 21, 2015

An underrated cable movie of the early '80s was If You Could See What I Hear featuring the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer, about overcoming blindness. In that vein, it is interesting that one of the most lovely songs about eyes in the '80s would be sung by the man whose was blind - Jeff Healy and Angel Eyes.

While recording Angel Eyes for his debut album, 22-year-old Canadian Jeff Healey would be cast as Cody, lead singer for the house band in the Patrick Swayze classic Road House. Bolstered by the movie, the title track of See The Light was released but did not hit the singles chart. The John Hiatt penned ballad Angel Eyes was released next and faired much better making it all the way to No. 5 on the singles chart in 1988. To show off the simplicity of the song and the unique guitar style of Healey, today we feature an acoustic version of Angel Eyes rather than the record company promotional video.

Healy lost his sight when he was a year old to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes. Unfortunately he would fight and lose his battle with cancer in 2008. Retinoblastoma is often an inherited disease and Healey's son was born, Derek, was born with the affliction. The good news is that due to cancer research, Derek (now around 10 years old), underwent surgery at the age of four months and beat the odds, not only having sight, but doesn't even need glasses.

Hiatt would eventually record his version of Angel Eyes on the 1994 live album Hiatt Comes Alive At Budokan. In 2004, Australian Idol contestant Paulini would record Angel Eyes and it would spend three weeks at No. 1 on the Australian singles charts and finish 2004 as the fourth best-selling single Down Under.