John Geils, the guitarist who founded the J. Geils Band well-known for the hits “Love Stinks,” “Freeze Frame,” and “Centerfold,” died Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at his home in Groton, Massachusetts. He was 71.
The Groton Police Department said Geils was pronounced dead at the scene after officers were called to the home to conduct a well-being check.
“A preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes,” Groton police said in a news release.
John Warren Geils Jr. was born Feb. 20, 1946, in New York City and grew up in Morris Plains, New Jersey. He grew up listening to his father’s Big Band records and later played trumpet in Northeastern University’s marching band.
After switching to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute to study mechanical engineering, he founded the J. Geils Blues Band with friends Stephen Jo Bladd, Richard Salwitz, Danny Klein, and Peter Wolf. Seth Justman came aboard later in time for the release of “The J. Geils Band” album in 1970.
Their biggest hits during the 1970s included the songs “Must of Got Lost,” which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1975; “Love Stinks,” which rose to No. 38 in 1980; “Freeze-Frame,” which rose to No. 4 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart in 1981; and the band’s No. 1 U.S. hit, “Centerfold,” in early 1982. The band’s official music videos for “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold” were placed into heavy rotation for weeks on MTV.
Musicians shared their condolences on social media after learning of Geils’ death including Steve Van Zandt, the actor and guitarist with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
“All our love and sympathy to the family and friends of John Warren Geils Jr.,” Van Zandt wrote on Twitter. “The J. Geils Band remain one of the greatest bands of all time.”