J. Geils of The J. Geils Band dies at 71

John Warren Geils, Jr., known professionally as J. Geils and lead guitarist and founder of The J. Geils Band, has died in his home in Groton, Mass according to multiple local reports. He was 71.

Geils grew up listening to artists like Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. He studied Miles Davis tunes on trumpet and drums and played trumpet at Northeastern University. He eventually became attracted to the folk scene in Boston, and left Northeastern to study at Worcester Polytechnic University, where the J. Geils Band was formed.

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The J. Geils Band
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The J. Geils Band
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: (L-R) Seth Justman, John Geils, Peter Wolf, Stephen Bladd, Richard Salwitz (aka Magic Dick) (standing) and Danny Klein (sitting) of the J. Geils Band pose for a group shot in June 1972 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
NEW YORK: John Geils of the J. Geils Band performs on stage in July 1972 in New York. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
BOSTON - JUNE 4: Members of the J. Geils Band, from L to R: Peter Wolf, J. Geils, Danny Klein, Magic Dick, Stephen Jo Bladd, Seth Justman. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
LONDON: (L-R) Richard Salwitz (aka Magic Dick), John Geils and Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band perform on stage in January 1973 in London. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
LONDON - 12th JANUARY: Guitarist J. Geils (John Geils) from the J. Geils Band performs live on stage at Mile End Sundown in London on 12th January 1973. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Photo of J GEILS BAND and Peter WOLF; lead singer of J Geils Band, (Photo by John Lynn Kirk/Redferns)
LONDON: John Geils and Peter Wolf of the J Geils Band perform on stage in 1973 in London. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of J Geils Band Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Peter Wolf, American rhythm and blues, soul and rock and roll musician, best known as the lead vocalist for the J. Geils Band from 1967 to 1983, plays on stage. (Photo by Baron Wolman/Iconic Images/Getty Images)
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: John Geils, Peter Wolf, Stephen Bladd and Danny Klein of the J. Geils Band perform on stage in June 1972 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: Richard Salwitz (aka Magic Dick) of the J. Geils Band poses in June 1972 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
LONG ISLAND, USA - 16th AUGUST: J. Geils from the J. Geils Band performs live on stage at the Calderone Theater in Long Island, New York on 16th August 1975. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
J Geils Of The J Geils Band at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago Illinois, April 11, 1980. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: USA Photo of J GEILS BAND (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
Peter Wolf And Seth Justman of the J Geils Band at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois, October 14, 1977. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
LONDON: (L-R) Richard Salwitz (aka Magic Dick), John Geils and Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band perform on stage in January 1973 in London. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
Guitarist J Geils performing with American rock group the J. Geils Band at the Sundown, Mile End, London, 12th January 1973. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Geils j Band (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Peter Wolf Of The J. Geils Band at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago Illinois, April 11, 1980. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Geils j Band (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
OAKLAND - MARCH 1979: The J. Geils Band performs at the Oakland Auditorium on March 24, 1979 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 1977: Peter Wolf performs with the J. Geils Band at Winterland on November 5, 1977 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 4: Left to right, J. Geils Band members Peter Wolf, J. Geils, Stephen Jo Bladd, Seth Justman, Danny Klein and Richard 'Magic Dick' Salwitz visit Tower Records in Boston on June 4, 1999. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
OAKLAND - MARCH 1979: Carlos Santana and Ronnie Montrose jam with Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band at the Oakland Auditorium on March 24, 1979 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)
Members of the pop group J. Geils Band play with paint in a warehouse. Singer Peter Wolf is in center, holding a bucket of paint. (Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Peter Wolf of the J Geils Band at the Uptown Theater in Chicago, Illinois, November 19, 1981. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 17: Richard 'Magic Dick' Salwitz performs with 'The J. Geils Band' at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on October 17, 1981. (Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) : 1981-The rock and roll group The J. Geils Band is shown posed in a studio portrait. (Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
J Geils Of The J Geils Band at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago Illinois, April 11, 1980. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
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Geils recruited other band members "Magic Dick" Salwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, Peter Wolf, and Seth Justman. The group originated as a R&B-influenced blues rock group in the 1970s, making an impression with songs including "Lookin' for a Love," "Cry One More Time," "Must Of Got Lost," and one of their biggest hits, "Give It To Me."

As the 1980s dawned the group adopted a slightly more new wave rock sound. Their title song from their 11th album, "Love Stinks," is familiar to younger audiences from its appearance on the soundtrack of "The Wedding Singer." They reached their biggest success with "Freeze Frame," which hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts for four weeks in 1983.

The album included the hit single "Centerfold," which stayed at stayed at No. 1 for six weeks. Bands such as The Eagles, U2, Billy Joel, and ZZ Top all opened for the band while on tour. The band broke up in 1985, and Geils decided to focus on other pursuits.

In 1992, Geils returned to music, forming the band Bluestime with Magic Dick. He returned to his jazz roots with the release of his first solo album in 2005.

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