By Brian Ives
The J. Geils Band was a rare case of a ’70s roots rock group that found a way to redefine themselves for MTV in the ’80s; they were a constant on rock radio in both decades, but have been passed over by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for years. Will 2017 be the year that changes? We’ll find out on Tuesday December 20 when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces their next group of inductees (and watch this space, we’ll have the info as soon as it’s announced).
We spoke to two DJs at WZLX in Boston (a Radio.com station), the band’s hometown, about why the J. Geils Band belong in the Rock Hall.
Cater Alan says, “The J. Geils Band bridged the gap between the traditional blues of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, R&B acts such as Don Covay and Little Milton, and straight up ’70s rock and roll emulated by bands such as Savoy Brown, the Faces and the Rolling Stones. They helped popularize so many classic Hall of Fame-recognized bluesmen and soul artists by covering their music.”
Which probably would have been enough to warrant induction. But in the following decade, they pulled off the rare feat: they were an established band who actually found a new, younger audience. “They became ’80s pop music sensations with a series of hits, namely ‘Freeze Frame‘ [#1 in US for 4 weeks] and ‘Centerfold‘ [#1 for 6 weeks].”
Chuck Nowlin adds that, above all else, they were one of rock’s great live bands. “The Mighty J. Geils Band is all about the show. ‘Woofa Goofa Mama Loofa,’ aka frontman Peter Wolf, leapfrogs around the stage like a twelve-year old, spraying the crowd they’ve worked into a frenzy with a magnum of champagne. Nobody leaves a Geils show without a sweat after two hours of Magic Dick on the lickin’ stick and some of the best hard pounding blues rock ever to come out of Boston. Peter Wolf’s live intro to ‘Musta Got Lost’ should have its own room in Cleveland. ‘Hey Reputahhhhh! Reputa the beauta, pull me down your hair and let me climb the golden ladder of your love…'”