Culture&Arts

'Centerfold' guitarist J. Geils found dead at age 71

'Centerfold' guitarist J. Geils found dead at age 71

John Geils, the guitarist and founder of the J Geils Band, which had the 1983 hit single Centrefold, has died at his home in MA at the age of 71.

Geils formed the group in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts, along with singer Peter Wolf, bassist Danny Klein, harmonica player "Magic Dick" Salwitz, drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and keyboardist Seth Justman, and the band released its self-titled debut album in 1970.

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Groton, Mass., police said officers responded to Geils's home around 4 p.m. Tuesday for a well-being check and found him unresponsive. Though the J. Geils Band hit its peak in the early '80s, the group spent the early '70s touring with big names like BB King, The Byrds and The Allman Brothers Band, which proclaimed the J. Geils Band its favorite local band during a 1971 show on the Boston Common. It has since periodically reunited, once to perform at the opening concert for the new House of Blues in Boston in 2009 and another time as the opening act for Aerosmith at Fenway Park the next year. They scored a few Top 40 singles in the early Seventies, including "Give It to Me" and their cover of "Lookin' for a Love", an early Sixties tune by the Valentinos.

In 1980, the band scored a slew of Hot 100 Billboard singles including "Freeze-Frame", "Love Stinks", and "Centerfold", and were staples on MTV.

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In recent years, the band toured without Geils because of a legal dispute with his record label, which claimed ownership of the band's name, according to the Facebook page. But they did not achieve commercial fame until the 1980s, when they released radio mainstays such as "Centerfold", "Love Stinks" and "Freeze-Frame".

The 1982 live release Showtime! was another gold-seller, but after some lesser-performing albums, the J. Geils Band split in 1985.

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Leading The J Geils Band, the guitarist adapted blues influences to create a hard-rocking, fun-loving rock sound that appealed to a largely working-class male audience. "It's great to be recognized, but it's a drag to be disappointed". I hope that we make it in. Tensions within the band led them to break up several years later, but they reformed several times in the intervening years, most recently supporting the likes of Bon Jovi and Bob Seger several years back.


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