J. Geils dead at age 71

John Warren Geils Jr., otherwise known as J. Geils of the J. Geils Band, was found dead Tuesday at his home in Groton, Massachusetts, according to multiple reports. He was 71 years old.

Geils played guitar for the band, whose roots were planted in the 1960s when he along with harmonica player Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz and bassist Danny Klein came together to form an acoustic blues trio. The group went electric in 1967 and brought in vocalist Peter Wolf and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd, calling themselves the J. Geils Blues Band and then eventually shortening the name to J. Geils Band.

The band went on to have multiple hits in the 1970s, most notably the classic rock radio staple “Must of Got Lost,” but their big breakthrough came in the ’80s with hits such as “Centerfold,” “Freeze Frame” and “Love Stinks.” “Centerfold” became the group’s biggest hit, sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks in 1982.

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The band broke up in 1985 and went on to have various reunions over the years, while Geils went on to have a second career working on cars as he opened a store in Massachusetts called KTR European Motorsports that specializes in working on vintage European sports cars and race cars. In 1996 Geils sold the store, which still remains in business.

The cause of death was not immediately reported. (UPDATE 9:30 p.m. ET: Rolling Stone reports local police, who found Geils dead when coming to his home for a wellness check at 4 p.m. ET, have preliminary declared the death to be from natural causes).

Photo by Carl Lender [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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