Being a good musician is hard enough, but imagine how much harder it must be for a visually impaired person. There have been a lot of very famous musicians with visual impairment, and today we are going to list the Top 10 Blind Male Musicians whose visual impairment did not stop them from following their dreams. Check out the list.
10. Ronnie Milsap
Ronnie Milsap was born in Robbinsville, North Carolina. He had a congenital disorder that caused him to be almost fully blind at birth. But this impairment did not stop him from working towards his passion. In his childhood he used to listen to country, gospel, and blues music that inspired him a lot. His teachers saw his talent at an early age of 7. He got classical music training and was trained to play various instruments. He started his career in 1963. And he is still loved throughout the world.
9. Nobuyuk Tsujii
Nobuyuk Tsujii is a famous and very talented young Japanese musician. He proved his talent even before the age of 25. When he was four years old, he began playing “Jingle Bells” on the piano when he heard his mother humming it. He got the first prize at the All Japan Music Competition for Blind Students. Since then, he has displayed his talent in various countries across the world. He also writes theme music for a Japanese film and TV dramas. He has gained a lot of fame and he is still in his early twenties!
8. Blind Willie Johnson
Many famous blind musicians were blues musicians and Willie Johnson was one of them. No ones knows for sure how he got blind but the most commonly told story is that his stepmother threw lye on his face while his father was beating her for cheating on him. He always wanted to be a preacher from his childhood. Then he began his career as a musician and he was also one of the finest slide guitar players around. He had a brief recording career in which he produced 30 tracks for Columbia Records 1927-1930. He died a short time later after contracting malaria.
7. George Shearing
George Shearing was a very talented and famous jazz musician. He was born in Battersea in London in 1919 and started playing piano at an early age. He refused a university scholarship because of financial problems and started playing piano in a local pub for £5 a week. He moved to U.S in 1947 and after some time became one of the most famous musicians. He played for three presidents at the White House, and wrote more than 300 compositions. The Queen of England knighted him in 2007. He died in February 2011 aged 91.
Moondog’s real name was Louis Thomas Hardin. He was not blind when he started playing drums on a cardboard box as a child. But he lost his sight at the age of 16 in a farming accident. Then in 1940s he moved to New York and became a street musician there. Then he moved to Germany and made music that was inspired by common everyday sounds. He invented various instruments, for example, a triangular-shaped harp known as the “Oo” and the Trimba, a triangular percussion instrument. He died in Germany in 1999 at the age of 83.
5. Blind Willie McTell
Willie McTell was not a major success in his lifetime and even died pretty much forgotten. He was most probably born in 1898 in Georgia. He had a sweet and melodic tenor. He always wanted to become a musician and started out by playing the harmonica and accordion, but then the twelve string guitar became his favorite instrument. Bob Dylan sang “nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell.” to pay a tribute to this famous musician.
4. Jose Feliciano
Jose Feliciano was a Puerto Rican guitarist and was immensely skilled. He has a 50 year career in which he has tried almost everything like classical, rock, pop, jazz and blues etc. He became popular in 1970 with the release of the track “Feliz Navidad,”. He still records both Spanish and English and is successful in both.
3. Art Tatum
Art Tatum is world’s most finest pianists and is extremely skilled. He was born in Toledo, Ohio. His father was a guitarist and his mother was a pianist. He was not 100 % blind as cataracts caused him to lose sight in one eye and left a limited vision in the other. He was influenced by both classical and stride so he formed a unique sound. Tatum used inverted and extended chord progressions for his times. He definitely is one of the most famous and talented pianists to ever live.
2. Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Morris in 1950. He started playing music at a very early age. At the age of 11 he had already signed with Motown. His first big hit was “Fingertips” and from then his career actually started. Till the time he was in his early 20s he had already had about a dozen classics. His best came later in life and he became one of the most popular musician ever. Stevie Wonder revolutionized the music industry.
1. Ray Charles
Ray Charles was born in Georgia in 1930. His eye sight started deteriorating at the age of five and at the age of 7 he was totally blind. He released many great hits like “Mess Around,” “ I Got A Woman,” and “ Drown in My Own Tears” throughout his career. He signed with ABC Paramount Records and then released his major hit “What I’d Say.” He totally revolutionized a genre of music and even helped invent another! Ray Charles died in June 2004 at 73.