DEVELOPING – John Warren Geils Jr., the founder and lead guitarist for the J. Geils Band, was found dead Tuesday in his Massachusetts home. He was 71.
Groton Police said in a statement that they were called to Geils’ home at around 4 p.m. local time to do a wellness check. Officers found Geils unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene.
Police said a preliminary investigation indicated that Geils died of natural causes, but the investigation was ongoing.
The J. Geils Band was founded in 1967 in Worcester, Mass., while Geils was studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Bandmates included Danny Klein, Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman.
The band, whose music bridged the gap between disco and new wave, released 11 studio albums before breaking up in 1985. They reunited off and on over the years.
The group had several Top 40 singles in the early 1970s, including a cover song “Lookin’ for a Love” by the family group The Valentinos and “Give It to me.”
Their biggest hits included “Must of Got Lost,” which reached No. 12 on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1975 and “Love Stinks,” a rant against unrequited love, the title song on their 1980 album. Their song “Centerfold,” from the album “Freeze Frame” was released in 1981 and eventually charted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in February 1982. It stayed there for six weeks and was featured on MTV.
The band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth time last fall but was not selected.
“This is our fourth nomination, and going through that process, with its inherent disappointment, you’re not sure you want to take that ride again,” lead vocalist Peter Wolf told Billboard at the time. “It’s great to be recognized, but it’s a drag to be disappointed. I hope that we make it in. That would be great.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.