Jeff Healey has died.

I tuned into contemporary pop/rock music when I was about twelve. (Before that, pretty much all I knew about rock was from my dad’s Beatles LPs. As groundworks go, that’s a pretty good one to have.) The local AM station that I got turned on to first had an hour-long program each night at 9, “Up Front”, that spotlighted Canadian music. This was the beginning of my modern musical education, the acts I heard on that show, and Healey was a part of that.

I hadn’t realized his blindness was due to cancer. I hadn’t realized he was as young as he was, not ten years my senior. And I’d lost track of his career sometime around when I moved to the States. But it feels like his passing is significant to me, somehow.

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