J GEILS: Guitarist Dead at 71

The guitarist and namesake founder of the J. Geils Band has died. According to Boston’s WCVB, John Warren Geils Junior was found dead today (Tuesday) in his Groton, Massachusetts home. He was 71. The cause of death has been called natural causes.

The hard-driving R&B band band, which featured vocalist Peter Wolf, built its reputation around Boston and began making records in 1970. But a change to pop and soul brought the sextet chart success with the reggae-flavored “Give It to Me” and “Must of Got Lost.” The band’s big year was 1982, when Freeze Frame spun off a pair of smashes in the title track (which went Top 5) and “Centerfold,” which spent six weeks at number-one.

Wolf left the band to go solo, and Geils reformed it on several occasions, though he stopped performing 2012. In recent years, the band named for him performed without him, which led to litigation. He also led the band Bluestime with Geils Band harp player Magic Dick and released three jazz albums under his own name.

Geils was back in the news last November when he was arrested on DUI charges after rear-ending another car.