NEW YORK (Reuters) - J. Geils, leader of The J. Geils Band whose hard-driving hits of the late 1970s and early 1980s included “Centerfold,” “Freeze Frame” and “Love Stinks,” died on Tuesday at his home in Groton, Massachusetts, police said. He was 71.
Groton police said Geils, whose full name was John Warren Geils Jr., appeared to have died of natural causes. After a “well-being check” at the musician’s house at around 4 p.m. EDT, Geils was discovered unresponsive and was declared dead at the scene, police said in a statement.
The J. Geils Band was launched as a blues trio in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the 1960s. It soon switched its focus to electric guitars and bass as it became a staple of the Boston music scene through the 1970s with Geils as its lead guitarist and Peter Wolf on vocals, the group said on its Facebook page.
Its biggest commercial successes were the hard rock ‘n’ roll anthems that came with the release of “Freeze Frame,” the band’s 12th album, in 1981.
The album, which followed the comical hit “Love Stinks,” also included the title track and “Centerfold,” which was No. 1 for six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 list, the group said.
The band’s success was relatively shortlived. After Wolf left the group in 1983, the remaining members produced another album, “You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Old,” and one single, “Concealed Weapons,” before breaking up in 1985.
The band had several reunion tours since then. Geils finally quit the band in 2012 and later sued his bandmates, claiming they were conspiring to tour without him and unlawfully using the band’s trademarked name, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
Geils remained active outside his namesake band. He released two albums in the mid-1990s with his band Bluestime, Rolling Stone said. He returned to his jazz roots during the 2000s with three solo records, it said.
Geils was born in New York on Feb. 20, 1946, and grew up in the New Jersey suburbs.
Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Sandra Maler and Paul Tait