It was quite a shock to hear that J. Giles (John Warren Giles, Jr.) was found dead at just 71, with the band ready to go back out on tour. I think there's an argument to say they were the most beloved band for decades in the great Northeast. Giles was a hot guitar player, but what differentiated the band from most others was Magic Dick (Richard Salwitz) playing lead on the mouth harp (harmonica).
The band, which also included Drummer Stephen Bladd, Vocalist/Keyboards Seth Justman and Bassist Danny Klein, was pulled together by Giles in 1968 in Worcester, Mass. where he was majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Poly at the time. Front man/singer Peter Wolf was something of a sex object to a lot of the coeds in the area, including those ultra-smarties at Harvard and M.I.T.
It was a really cool band, but at that time in New England with the 250,000 mostly hip college kids you had to be good to make it, and J.Giles has been dear to the heart of the Boston area ever since.
The J. Giles Band was an R&B oriented Blues Rock group that like many of it's competitors would swing toward the emerging New Wave Pop of the 80's when they had their greatest success. Two of J. Giles biggest hits came in 1980 before Wolf left to go solo in 1983: "Freeze-Frame" which reached #4 on the Top 40 and "Centerfold," the #1 Pop follow-up.
It's a crying shame that J.Giles was nominated for the Fourth Time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, and passed over again months before his death. Maybe there's no R&RHOF for him, but you can be assured that J. Giles is tuning up in Rock and Roll Heaven tonight with the other great musicians who've crossed over and appreciated his music and success so much more than the 'civilians' that select the winners.
This morning Peter Wolf posted on Facebook: "Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P Jay Geils." Let's kick it high one more time with the official video of the J. GILES BAND playing their biggest hit, CENTERFOLD, in a beautifully produced clip with great picture and sound. Rock On! @therealdonrocks
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