Friday, December 14, 2012

The Band's Namesake Was Not The Singer: The J. Geils Band

Our Friday selection for our Second Week Special looks at another band where the namesake was not the singer – The J. Geils Band. Formed in Boston and named for the band’s guitarist, the front man for much of The J. Geils Band’s history, including their brief identity crisis as “Geils,” was Peter Wolf. In fact, the current lineup of The J. Geils Band doesn’t even have J. Geils as a member – strange but true. In case you are wondering, the J. in J. Geils stands for “John.”

I came to know The J. Geils Band via airplay on WDVE in Pittsburgh, PA. The first song of theirs I remember hearing was their cover of The Contour’s single “First I Look at the Purse.” Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers wrote the song and Robinson produced The Countours’ 1965 recording. The original never made it into the Top 40, but placed at #12 on Billboard’s R&B chart.

The studio cover version by The J. Geils Band appeared on their self-titled debut LP. It also was the flip of their debut single “Homework (Ain’t Gonna Do It Baby),” which also appeared on the debut album. The single failed to chart, but “First I Look at the Purse” received significant AOR airplay in 1970.

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