John Warren Geils Jr. • February 20, 1946 – April 10, 2017
John Warren “J.” Geils Jr. was an American guitarist who was a founding member of the rock group the J. Geils Band.
Geils was born in New York City and grew up in Morris Plains, New Jersey.
From an early age, he heard his father’s albums by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, and was escorted by his father to a Louis Armstrong concert. He worked out Miles Davis music on trumpet and drums, and he listened to blues guitarists Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters on the radio.
In 1964, he went to Northeastern University and was a trumpeter in the marching band. When he was drawn to folk musicians in Boston, he left Northeastern for Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he studied mechanical engineering. At Worcester, he formed J. Geils Blues Band with Danny Klein, Magic Dick Salwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, and Peter Wolf, with Seth Justman becoming the last member before the band released its debut album in 1970.
The J. Geils Band was influenced by soul music and rhythm and blues, but it moved toward pop and rock by the time the album Love Stinks (1980) came out. Their next album, Freeze Frame, produced the song “Centerfold”, which sat at number one for six weeks. Tension and conflict arose among band members, and Peter Wolf left to pursue a solo career. The band broke up in 1985. (Wikipedia)
Anyone who watched the early days of MTV will recall these heavy rotation music vids:
J. Geils Band • Love Stinks (1980) • Iconic image: Bride and bridegroom in gas masks (follow the bouncing heart)
J. Geils Band • Centerfold (1981) • Iconic image: The tom tom drum milk splash