John Geils Jr., who played guitar in the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his Massachusetts home, according to the Groton (Mass.) Police Department. He was 71. The police department said in a statement that he likely died of natural causes.
Geils is best known for the J. Geils Band’s No. 1 hit, “Centerfold,” which spent six weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1982 and 25 weeks on the chart cumulatively. The band followed up the success with “Freeze-Frame,” the title track to its 1981 album, which peaked at No. 4.
Before the band found mainstream success in the 1980s, the J. Geils Band were one of the more popular rock bands of the 1970s. The Boston-based blues-rock band released 10 albums during the decade, touching the top 10 of Billboard’s album chart with 1973’s Bloodshot.
Internal strife between songwriters Peter Wolf and Seth Justman resulted in the J. Geils Band temporarily breaking up in 1985. Geils continued to collaborate with the band’s harmonica player, Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, in Bluestime, which released two albums in the 1990s. The J. Geils Band reunited in 1999 for some live dates and performed sporadically thereafter.
Geils released his first solo album, Jay Geils Plays Jazz!, in 2005, drawing praise from prolific music analyst Stephen Thomas Erlewine.