J. Geils Band

J. Geils dies, aged 71

John Geils, the American guitarist best known for his hits Centrefold and Freeze Frame with the J. Geils Band, has died at home in Massachusetts.

Born John Warren Geils Jr in New York, he formed the J. Geils Blues Band with university friends including singer Peter Wolf in 1967. The band shortened its name before the release of its début album The J. Geils Band in 1970, issuing ten albums throughout the 1970s before finally achieving mainstream success in the US with 1980’s Love Stinks. Its follow up, Freeze Frame, became the band’s international breakthrough, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 and number 12 in the UK. The album spawned the J. Geils Band’s two best remembered hits, Centerfold (a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 in the UK) and Freeze Frame (#4 US, #27 UK).

The band failed to capitalise on their success, however, releasing only a live album in 1982 before vocalist Wolf departed for a solo career. After one further album, 1984’s You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd, they split in 1985.

Following the band’s demise, Geils moved away from music, preferring to concentrate on racing and repairing sports cars for some years, until 1992 when he formed the band Bluestime, who released two albums. The J. Geils Band reformed periodically for live shows from 1999 onwards and, as Jay Geils, he recorded two solo jazz albums in 2005 and 2009. Also in 2009 Geils was honoured by the town of Groton, Massachusetts – where he had lived since 1982 – who declared December 1 “J. Geils Day”.

Geils was discovered unresponsive at his home by Groton Police on April 11 2017 and was pronounced dead from natural causes. He was 71.