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J. Geils Band

The J. Geils Band was one of the most popular touring rock & roll bands in America during the '70s. Where their contemporaries were influenced by the heavy boogie of British blues-rock and the ear-splitting sonic adventures of psychedelia, the J. Geils Band was a bar band pure and simple, churning out greasy covers of obscure R&B, doo wop, and soul tunes, cutting them with a healthy dose of Stonesy swagger. While their muscular sound and the hyper jive of frontman Peter Wolf packed arenas across America, it only rarely earned them hit singles. Seth Justman, the group's main songwriter, could turn out catchy R&B-based rockers like "Give It to Me" and "Must of Got Lost," but these hits never led to stardom, primarily because the group had trouble capturing the energy of its live sound in the studio. In the early '80s, the group tempered its driving rock with some pop, and the makeover paid off with the massive hit single "Centerfold," which stayed at number one for six weeks. By the time the band prepared to record a follow-up, tensions between Justman and Wolf had grown considerably, resulting in Wolf's departure, which quickly led to the band's demise. After working for years to reach to top of the charts, the J. Geils Band couldn't stay there once they finally achieved their goal.

Guitarist J. Geils, bassist Danny Klein, and harpist Magic Dick (born Richard Salwitz) began performing as an acoustic blues trio sometime in the mid-'60s. In 1967, drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and vocalist Peter Wolf joined the group, and the band went electric. Before joining the J. Geils Band, Bladd and Wolf played together in the Boston-based rock revivalist band the Hallucinations. Both musicians shared a love of arcane doo wop, blues, R&B, and rock & roll, and Wolf had become well-known by spinning such obscure singles as a jive-talking WBCN DJ called Woofuh Goofuh. Wolf and Bladd's specialized tastes became a central force in the newly revamped J. Geils Band, whose members positioned themselves as tough '50s greasers in opposition to the colorful psychedelic rockers who dominated the East Coast in the late '60s. Soon, the band had earned a sizable local following, including Seth Justman, an organist who was studying at Boston University. Justman joined the band in 1968, and the band continued to tour for the next few years, landing a record contract with Atlantic in 1970.

The J. Geils Band was a regional hit upon its early 1970 release, and it earned favorable reviews, especially from Rolling Stone. The group's second album, The Morning After, appeared later that year and, thanks to the Top 40 hit "Looking for a Love," the album expanded the band's following. However, the J. Geils Band continued to win new fans primarily through their concerts, so it was no surprise that their third album, 1972's Full House, was a live set. It was followed by Bloodshot, a record that climbed into the Top Ten on the strength of the Top 40 hit "Give It to Me." Following the relative failure of 1973's Ladies Invited, the band had another hit with 1974's Nightmares, which featured the number 12 single "Must of Got Lost." While their live shows remained popular throughout the mid-'70s, both Hot Line (1975) and the live Blow Your Face Out (1976) were significant commercial disappointments. The band revamped its sound and shortened its name to "Geils" for 1977's Monkey Island. While the album received good reviews, the record failed to bring the group increased sales.

In 1978, the J. Geils Band left Atlantic Records for EMI, releasing Sanctuary later that year. Sanctuary slowly gained a following, becoming their first gold album since Bloodshot. Love Stinks (1980) expanded the group's following even more, peaking at number 18 in the charts and setting the stage for 1981's Freeze Frame, the band's high watermark. Supported by the infectious single "Centerfold" -- which featured a memorable video that received heavy MTV airplay -- and boasting a sleek, radio-ready sound, Freeze Frame climbed to number one. "Centerfold" shot to the top of the charts late in 1981, spending six weeks at number one; its follow-up, "Freeze-Frame," was nearly as successful, reaching number four in the spring of 1982. The live album Showtime! became a gold album shortly after its late 1982 release.

While the band was experiencing the greatest commercial success of its career, relationships between the members, particularly writing partners Justman and Wolf, were volatile. When the group refused to record material Wolf had written with Don Covay and Michael Jonzun, he left the band in the middle of a 1983 recording session. Justman assumed lead vocals, and the group released You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' Odd in late 1984, several months after Wolf's successful solo debut, Lights Out. The J. Geils Band's record was a failure, and the band broke up in 1985. Magic Dick and J. Geils reunited in 1993 to form a contemporary blues band that has released two CDs, Bluestime and Little Car Blues. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: House Party Live In Germany (Live In Germany 1979)

1. Jus' Can't Stop Me (Live)

2. I Could Hurt You (Live)

3. Sanctuary (Live)

4. One Last Kiss (Live)

5. Teresa (Live)

6. Nightmares (Live)

7. Wildman (Live)

8. Lookin' For A Love (Live 1979)

9. Give It To Me (Live)

10. Whammer Jammer (Live)

11. (It Ain't Nothin' But A) House Party (Live)

12. Where Did Our Love Go (Live)

13. Pack Fair And Square (Live)

14. First I Look At The Purse (Live)

x

Track List: Showtime! (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

1. Jus' Can't Stop Me (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

2. Just Can't Wait (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

3. Till The Walls Come Tumblin' Down (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

4. Sanctuary (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

5. I'm Falling (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

6. Love Rap (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

7. Love Stinks (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

8. Stoop Down #39 (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

9. I Do (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

10. Centerfold (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

11. Land Of A Thousand Dances (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Detroit, 1982)

x

Track List: The J. Geils Band

1. Wait (Single/LP Version)

2. Ice Breaker (For The Big "M")

3. Cruisin' For A Love (Live Version)

4. Hard Drivin' Man

5. Serves You Right To Suffer

6. Homework

7. First I Look At The Purse

8. What's Your Hurry?

9. On Borrowed Time

10. Pack Fair And Square

11. Sno-Cone

x

Track List: Rhino Hi-Five: The J. Geils Band

1. Give It To Me

2. Looking For A Love

3. Make Up Your Mind

4. Must Of Got Lost

5. Homework

x

Track List: Ladies Invited

1. Did You No Wrong

2. I Can't Go On

3. Lay Your Good Thing Down

4. Tha'ts Why I'm Thinking Of You

5. No Doubt About It

6. The Lady Makes Demands

7. My Baby Don't Love Me

8. Diddyboppin'

9. Take A Chance (On Romance)

10. Chimes

x

Track List: Hotline

1. Love-Itis

2. Easy Way Out

3. Think It Over

4. Be Careful [What You Do]

5. Jealous Love

6. Mean Love

7. Orange Driver

8. Believe In Me

9. Fancy Footwork

x

Track List: Full House "Live"

1. First I Look At The Purse (Live)

2. Homework (Live)

3. Pack Fair And Square (Live)

4. Whammer Jammer (Live)

5. Hard Drivin' Man (Live)

6. Serves You Right To Suffer (Live)

7. Cruisin' For A Love (Live Version)

8. Looking For A Love (Live)

x

Track List: Freeze Frame

1. Freeze Frame

2. Rage In The Cage

3. Centerfold

4. Do You Remember When

5. Insane, Insane Again

6. Flamethrower

7. River Blindness

8. Angel in Blue

9. Piss on the Wall

x

Track List: Blow Your Face Out (Live)

1. Southside Shuffle (Live)

2. Back To Get Ya (Live)

3. Shoot Your Shot (Live)

4. Musta Got Lost (Live)

5. Where Did Our Love Go (Live)

6. Truck Drivin' Man (Live)

7. Love-Itis (Live)

8. Looking For A Love (Live)

9. (Ain't Nothin' But A) House Party (Live)

10. So Sharp (Live)

11. Detroit Breakdown (Live)

12. Chimes (Live)

13. Sno-Cone (Live)

14. Wait (Live)

15. Raise Your Hand (Live)

16. Start All Over (Live)

17. Give It To Me (Live)

x

Track List: The J. Geils Band Anthology

Disc 1

2. Homework

3. Looking For A Love

4. It Aint What You Do (It's How You Do It)

5. The Usual Place

6. Cry One More Time

8. Give It To Me

9. Southside Shuffle

10. Make Up Your Mind

11. Gettin' Out

12. Detroit Breakdown

13. Givin' It All Up

14. Must Of Got Lost

15. Believe In Me

16. Love-Itis

17. Where Did Our Love Go

19. Surrender

Disc 2

1. Sno-Cone

2. Wait

3. Hard Drivin' Man

4. First I Look At The Purse

5. Pack Fair And Square

6. Whammer Jammer

7. Musta Got Lost

10. I Do

11. Just Can't Wait

12. Love Stinks

13. Night Time

14. Flamethrower

15. Centerfold

16. Freeze-Frame

17. Sanctuary

18. One Last Kiss

19. Teresa

x

Track List: Flashback- Best Of

1. Love Stinks

2. Freeze-Frame

3. Flamethrower

4. Just Can't Wait

5. I Do (Live)

6. Centerfold

7. Come Back (Single Edit)

8. Wild Man (Edit)

9. One Last Kiss

10. Land Of A Thousand Dances

x

Track List: Love Stinks

1. Just Can't Wait

2. Come Back

3. Takin' You Down

4. Night Time

5. No Anchovies, Please

6. Love Stinks

7. Tryin' not to Think About It

8. Desire

9. Till The Walls Come Tumblin' Down

x

Track List: Best Of The J. Geils Band

1. Southside Shuffle

2. Give It To Me

3. Where Did Our Love Go

4. (Ain't Nothin' But A) House Party

5. Detroit Breakdown

6. Whammer Jammer

7. I Do

8. Must Of Got Lost

9. Looking For A Love (Live)

x

Track List: Sanctuary

1. I Could Hurt You

2. One Last Kiss

3. Take It Back

4. Sanctuary

5. Teresa

6. Wild Man

7. I Can't Believe You

8. I Don't Hang Around Much Anymore

9. Jus' Can't Stop Me

x

Track List: Monkey Island

1. Surrender

2. You're The Only One

3. I Do

4. Somebody

5. I'm Falling

6. Monkey Island

7. I'm Not Rough

8. So Good

9. Wreckage

x

Track List: Bloodshot

1. (Ain't Nothin' But A) House Party

2. Make Up Your Mind

3. Back To Get Ya

4. Struttin' With My Baby

5. Don't Try To Hide It

6. Southside Shuffle

7. Hold Your Loving

8. Start All Over (Again)

9. Give It To Me

x

Track List: Nightmares...And Other Tales From The Vinyl Jungle

1. Detroit Breakdown

2. Givin' It All Up

3. Must Of Got Lost

4. Look Me In The Eye

5. Nightmares

6. Stoop Down #39

7. I'll Be Coming Home

8. Funky Judge

9. Gettin' Out

x

Track List: The Morning After

1. I Don't Need You No More

2. Whammer Jammer

3. So Sharp

4. The Usual Place

5. Gotta Have Your Love

6. Looking For A Love

7. Gonna Find Me A New Love

8. Cry One More Time

9. Floyd's Hotel

10. It Ain't What You Do (It's How You Do It !)

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