Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: J. Geils Band

Some bands, through no fault of their own, are known largely for one song or one album, despite having a successful and lengthy career and even one that is influential.  Such is the case with the J. Geils Band, which is known for its successful album Freeze-Frame, its single by that title and the even larger hit “Centerfold,” and whose larger body of work over a period of years has not been as well-remembered but which is worthy of recognition, not least because the band managed to have a successful career being led by someone who was not the lead singer, and while consistently showing an interest in the seamier and more negative side of love.  There are many bands who have made a career out of singing passionate odes of heartfelt devotion [1], but there are few bands with as skewed a view of love that managed to have a lengthy and successful career as they did, and that alone is worthy of appreciation.

The Influence Of J. Geils Band

The influence of the J. Geils Band largely consists in the way that it opened up a space for artists whose view of love was more cynical than the mainstream.  This was not merely a one-off matter, but rather a consistent approach on the part of the band.  Nor was there success a mere flash in the pan.  Over a period of fifteen years they showed a consistently skewed view of love and relationships, from their first hit, a cover of Bobby Womack’s “Looking For A Love,” to their singles “Give It To Me,” “Must Of Got Lost,” “One Last Kiss,” “Come Back,” and “Love Stinks,” all of which hit the top 40.  Nor were they merely a singles band, with a platinum album (Freeze-Frame) and three gold studio albums (Bloodshot, Sanctuary, and Love Stinks, and two gold live albums a decade apart [2].  A band that proved its chops in the studio and live, with multiple songwriters as well as a couple of lead singers over their career, they were a band that wrote excellent songs and drew attention to the music of others through their stellar covers.

Why J. Geils Band Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

As an example of a solid live act with a lengthy career filled with original tunes and excellent covers, the band’s success has led them to be nominated for the Rock of Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.  They deserve some more attention and a nomination, not least because their music has been so iconic, as well as being genuinely ironic.  The band has all kinds of drama involving the presence or absence of J. Geils himself from his own band and having an honored place among fellow Boston area bands [3].  With their distinctive approach to love and relationships and their continued hard work as a band both before their success and in reunion tours, they deserve a place in Cleveland.

Why J. Geils Band Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Since their most successful period in terms of sales and chart success was in the early 1980’s, it is possible that the J. Geils Band is lumped in with other 1980’s band and as a result is not given credit for its lengthy period of hard work as a band before their period of massive success after a decade of releasing solid and well-regarded albums.  The fact that the band broke apart so soon after its most successful period, likely because the lead singer got a much higher profile before, which disturbed the balance of power within the group, means that they are likely viewed as a mere flash in the pan and not as a band that had a long period of effort before it paid off in sales and chart positions, only to end as quickly as it began.

Verdict:  Put them in.  Few songs in Cleveland would be as fun to listen to as the band’s hits “Love Stinks” and “Centerfold.”

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bryan-adams/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-foreigner/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-journey/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-the-carpenters/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-chicago/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-phil-collins/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_J._Geils_Band_discography

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_J._Geils_Band

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Love & Marriage, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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