Guitarist J. Geils, Founder Of The J. Geils Band, Dies At Age 71
John Warren “J.” Geils, founder and lead guitarist of The J. Geils Band, died at age 71 in his Massachusetts home. He was found dead of natural causes by Groton, Mass., police while they were conducting a well-being check on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Geils founded his band in 1968 while studying mechanical engineering and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The band was comprised of Geils, Stephen Bladd, Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, Seth Justman, Danny Klein, and Peter Wolf.
Together, the band released 11 studio albums including their biggest commercial success, Freeze Frame, which was released in late 1980. For four weeks in early 1981, Freeze Frame was number one on the Billboard Charts. The album’s lead single, “Centerfold,” was number one on the Billboard 100 for six weeks straight.
While commercial success didn’t come for the band until the early ’80s, they did amass a devoted following prior to their breakout because of their energetic live shows.
The J. Geils Band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth time in 2016 but ultimately was not inducted. There is no limit to the amount of times a band or performer can be nominated.
Upon learning of Geils death, bandmate and lead vocalist Peter Wolf posted an old picture of the band to Facebook. “Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils,” Wolf’s caption read.
A long time resident of Groton, Mass., December 1, 2009, was officially J. Geils Day in the town.