5 Reasons the J. Geils Band Should Be in the Hall of Fame
Everyone who's been nominated for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — this or any other year — is an accomplished artist with a legacy to be proud of. There's an argument to be made on behalf of any of the Hall's potential inductees, and with that in mind, here's our list of five reasons we'd like to see the J. Geils Band up at that podium next April.
Honor, Not Homage
From their early jug-band days through their brief chart-topping reign in the '80s, the J. Geils Band made blues-infused rock 'n' roll as artfully as anyone in their peer group. Plenty of rock bands have drawn on the blues for inspiration, but the Geils Band did it in a way that managed to be transparently traditional while still remaining fresh, and the result was a string of records that stand among some of the rawest, dirtiest and most all-around entertaining of their era.
They Blow Your Face Out Live
Rock fans spend a lot of time talking about records, but live performance is the benchmark for almost any classic rock artist, and it's onstage that the J. Geils Band has always truly excelled. For a lot of bands, the live album is little more than a contract-fulfilling placeholder, but there's a reason these guys put out three concert albums in 10 years: If they were reliably entertaining in the studio, they're transcendent on the stage.
Body of Work
If the J. Geils Band never quite managed to capture the power of their stage performance in the studio, their discography is still pretty damn impressive. Consistent sales success eluded them until the late '70s — and they imploded soon after hitting their commercial stride — but they pumped out 11 studio LPs and a trio of live albums in less than 15 years, and they add up to an impressive (and immensely entertaining) body of work. (Well, with the arguable exception of 1984's You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' Odd. Hey, nobody's perfect.)
They Sold Out the Right Way
Most of our favorite classic rock artists made some sort of concession to changing trends and the demands of pop radio in the '80s, and the J. Geils Band were no exception — but with 1980's Love Stinks and 1981's Freeze-Frame, they put on a master class in how to give your sound an overhaul without abandoning your roots. Unlike the majority of rock acts who tried to incorporate the New Wave sounds in vogue early in the decade, the J. Geils Band evolved in a fairly natural way, and with Freeze-Frame, the result was a triple-platinum, chart-topping hit that produced the biggest singles of their career.
Personality conflicts imploded the J. Geils Band at the peak of their chart success, but the music kept calling, and the group reunited in 1999 for the first in a series of tours. Although singer Peter Wolf remains focused on his solo career — and the band's namesake, guitarist John Geils, was exiled in a nasty split in 2012 and died in 2017 — the group remains a going concern, delivering live performances that remain a reliable highlight wherever they play. Getting the band up onstage for the Rock Hall all-star jam would be incredible — and perhaps a last opportunity to see Geils and retired drummer Stephen Bladd back in the lineup.