Speed Reads

Rest in peace

John Geils, of J. Geils band fame, is dead at 71

Guitarist John Warrant Geils Jr.'s first band, formed in the mid-1960s, was called Snoopy and the Sopwith Camels, but in 1967 the band added lead singer Peter Wolf, renamed itself the J. Geils Blues Band, and jammed its way onto the national stage in the 1970s, touring with bands like The Allman Brothers and The Byrds. Dropping "Blues" from the band's name, the J. Geils Band scored a string of hits in the 1980s, before disbanding in 1985. Giles was found dead at his home in Groton, Massachusetts, on Tuesday evening. He was 71, and Groton police say Giles likely died of natural causes.

It was the J. Geils Band's 12th album, Freeze Frame, that put them on the national map. It spent four weeks at No. 1 in 1982, on the strength of the single "Centerfold," the band's best known hit, holding the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. You know the song immediately upon hearing the opening hook. The video mostly features Wolf singing about his shock at seeing an old girlfriend in an adult magazine spread, but you can hear Geils' guitar and see him at the end, standing at the end of a school hallway.

The J. Geils Band reunited several times, notably for a 2010 concert in Fenway Park with fellow Boston band Aerosmith. When he wasn't playing, Geils raced and restored old cars and motorcycles.