BY EMMA SCHATOCHIN
Jeff Healey’s love for music was celebrated in Port Credit Sunday as he was inducted into the Mississauga Music Walk of Fame.
“For Jeff, it was always about the music. It was really important that people appreciated the music,” said his widow Cristie Healey, who accepted a plaque on his behalf.
Healey died of sarcoma cancer in 2008.
Following the unveiling of his star in Memorial Park, Jeff Healey Band’s founding bass player, Joe Rockman, described working with him.
“The best way to answer it quickly is it was never boring because he really had a musical genius to him,” Rockman said.
“He had an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz, which translated to other forms of music as well.”
This year’s inductees also include Steve DeMarchi, Bobby Dean Blackburn, and Cliff Hunt.
“I never really expected this to happen. This to me, as our song would say, means more than words can say,” said DeMarchi, referring to his former band Alias and their huge ’90s hit.
For R&B trailblazer Bobby Dean Blackburn, his career began with his band, Bobby Dean and the Gems, at age 16.
“It was the first rock and roll band in Toronto to incorporate saxophones,” said Blackburn.
“We did a lot of stuff in Mississauga, Streetsville, with The Gems. We started on Lakeshore, Port Credit, Mimico, New Toronto, all the dances in the early days.”
Hunt attended the ceremony with his family and business partner of more than 20 years, Sander Shalinsky.
They managed Canadian alternative rock band The Killjoys during the grunge era.
“I was always in a musical family. My father was a musician, my mother was a singer,” Hunt said.
Just as Hunt mentions his mom, on hand for the ceremony, will be turning 96 in November, former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, also 95, enters the room, joining her for a photo.
The women are received with applause and cheer.
“They are the real rock stars,” said Shalinsky.
The Music Walk of Fame was founded in 2012 by Ward 1 Coun. Jim Tovey, who has been singing from the moment he “was born,” and continues to write songs and “jam out” in the studio.
He says he was inspired to find a way to recognize influential members of the music industry.
“I just admire all of them,” said Tovey.
“They have really brought a lot of pride to the City of Mississauga.”
To view past inductees or to nominate someone for next year’s ceremony, visit the Music Walk of Fame website.