The J. Geils Band

The powerhouse blues-rock sextet The J. Geils Band was one of the premiere American studio and concert acts in the ’70s and ’80s. Originally The J. Geils Blues Band out of Worcester, MA  — including guitarist J. Geils, harmonica player Magic Dick and bassist Danny Klein — in 1968 manic frontman Peter Wolf and his former bandmate in The Hallucinations Stephen Jo Bladd joined up, followed by keyboardist Seth Justman.  The group, a stickler for regular practice sessions, played countless gigs in New England bars and at The Boston Tea Party and other clubs, honing a tight and taut sound captured on its breakthrough 1970 debut album on Atlantic that remains one of the best recordings made by a local rock outfit. The group recorded a series of blues and R&B-based albums and enjoyed big record sales throughout the ’70s. It turned arenas into a “house party” with its unfailingly high-energy performances. The band’s biggest commercial success came in the early ’80’s with its pop singles “Freeze-Frame,” a top ten hit,  and “Centerfold,” which climbed to the top of the charts, making the group rock video heroes in the early days of MTV. Wolf left the group in 1983 to pursue a solo career, and the group disbanded soon after his departure. After a long hiatus, it reunited in 1999 for a short tour and has gone on the road several times since then (although with a replacement for Bladd), including the “Double Play” concert at Fenway Park with Aerosmith in 2010. They were nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but not voted in, to the disappointment of everyone who ever saw them “blow your face out” live.
(by Dean Johnson and Steve Nelson)

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