Classic Rock Guitarist J. Geils Has Died, Aged 71
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 09:20:02
J. Geils, the guitarist of the J. Geils Band, born John Warren Geils Jr., was found dead in his home in Groton, Massachusetts on Tuesday. He was 71. According to Groton Police, "a preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes."
In a police statement it was recorded; "At approximately 4 p.m., Groton Police responded to a home on Graniteville Road for a well-being check. Upon arrival to the house, police located a man who was unresponsive. He was declared dead at the scene ... The Groton Police Department is investigating the death, as is standard procedure in all unattended deaths, however foul play is not suspected at this time."
The J. Geils Band — a vehicle for the guitar-driven tunes of Geils — was fronted by vocalist Peter Wolf, and released a slew of albums during the 1970's and 1980's, spawning classic radio hits like "Freeze Frame", "Come Back", "Love Stinks" and "Centerfold" — a host of songs that remain in constant rotation across the world's radio stations.
On Facebook, Wolf shared a short message about his former bandmate, "Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils."
The J. Geils Band was formed in 1967, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The band became fast local favorites before releasing their self-titled debut album in 1970. It wasn't until 1973 that they would break through into the Billboard Top 200 with their record Bloodshot, but through the following years they honed a sound that blended pop, blues rock, R&B, and soul — defining what would become their signature sound.
With relentless touring throughout the 1970's, and no less than eight studio albums and two live records, the J. Geils Band built a fanbase that was too big to quit, yet it wasn't until the 1980's that they would truly hit a commercial peak. Their first platinum-selling record was Love Stinks, which was followed by their twelfth studio album Freeze-Frame which became a Number One. That album contained the legendary track "Centerfold" — the only chart-topping hit from the band, though the title track also peaked within the Top Ten.
With the massive success experienced by the band, the band began to suffer until it ultimately fell apart. Wolf departed company from the group to pursue a solo career and wouldn't appear on the J. Geils Band's final album, released in 1984. Only twelve months later the band officially split.
In 1999 the band would play the occasional reunion shows, but in 2012 Geils officially quit the group and sued his bandmates for plotting a tour without him — using his band's trademarked name.
Despite the fall out and change of trajectory, Geils continued recording and releasing music. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records.
While J. Geils will be sorely missed it is certain his music will continue to populate the airwaves and inspire singalongs until the end of time.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff