John Geils Jr., the founding guitarist and namesake of The J. Geils Band, was found dead Tuesday at his home in Groton, Massachusetts, ABC News has confirmed. He was 71.
A spokesman for the Groton Police Department said the department did a well-being check at Geils’ home Tuesday afternoon finding Geils dead at the scene.
Geils formed the group in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts, along with singer Peter Wolf, bassist Danny Klein, harmonica player “Magic Dick” Salwitz, drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and keyboardist Seth Justman, and the band released its self-titled debut album in 1970.
The J. Geils Band’s music was steeped in classic soul, R&B and blues, and the group became known for its energetic live shows focusing on the charismatic Wolf. The band scored its first top-20 in 1974 with “Must of Got Lost,” but their biggest success came following the release of the 1981 album Freeze Frame, which reached #1 on the Billboard 200 the following year. Freeze Frame featured “Centerfold,” the group’s only single to top the Billboard Hot 100, while the album’s title track reached #4 on the chart.
Wolf exited the group in 1983, and the band released just one more studio album after his departure before breaking up in 1985. The group re-formed in 2009 without Geils, who wound up suing his ex-band mates in 2012 over the use of his moniker. Geils also released a handful of jazz- and blues-influenced albums over the years.
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