Guitarist J. Geils of The J. Geils Band Dead at 71 – Story & Tribute

J. Geils of The J. Geils Band, Dies at 71
February 20, 1946 – April 11, 2017 (aged 71)
The guitarist was found unresponsive at his home in Groton, Massachusetts this afternoon. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Sources say he probably died of natural causes, police said in a statement. He had lived in Groton for the past 35 years.

He was born John Warren Geils Jr. In New York and grew up in Far Hills, New Jersey. His dad was an engineer at Bell Labs who cultured the families musical palette with a love of Jazz via Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and a visit to a Louis Armstrong concert.

The guitarist formed the J. Geils Band in 1967 – he was 21 with bassist Danny Klein, Magic Dick Salwitz playing harmonica, trumpet, saxophone, drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and vocalist Peter Wolf. Keyboardist Seth Justman would join the following year.

Their second album “The Morning After” in 1971 produced their first Billboard Top-40 hit with “Looking for a Love” which sneaked into the chart at #39. The next one did a bit better “Give It To Me” from 1973’s Bloodshot” album reached #30. It wasn’t until their sixth album “Nightmares…and Other Tales from the Vinyl Jungle” that the J. Geils Band had a real hit with “Must Of Got Lost” which peaked at #12 on the singles chart in 1975.

In all the group had 17 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including 10 top 40-charting hits. Their only # 1 hit was “Centerfold” in November 1981 – It stayed at the top spot for 6 weeks. The other big one was the title tune from the album “Freeze-Frame” peaking at No. 4.

The J Geils Band broke up in 1985 but there have been reunions. Geils quit the band that’s named after him in 2012 when the rest of the boys went on without him. He later filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against group members.

When he wasn’t laying guitar he concentrated on his other passions – auto racing and restoration. At the height of his bands success fell in love with Italian sports cars and drove in five races a year. Geils built KTR Motorsports, an automobile restoration shop in Carlisle, Massachusetts. Even though he sold it in 1996 he still hung out there all the time. – by John Beaudin

John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.

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