THE J. GEILS BAND – Love Stinks – (EMI) – 1980

J Geils Band - Love Stinks

And so does this album.

Boom Boom !

That's a cheap shot.

In a very early posting (#4 from 2009 in fact …. don't read it as those early postings are part of an email group, The Quads, and were more conversational and short and stinky) I did say this though:

"The J.Geils band had been around since the late 60s and had always played straight ahead rock … like a more mainstream Flamin Groovies …."

And, that remains accurate … the J. Geils Band circa 1980 are the Famin Groovies if they sold out or compromised.

Allmusic: "Guitarist J. Geils, bassist Danny Klein, and harpist Magic Dick (born Richard Salwitz) began performing as an acoustic blues trio sometime in the mid-'60s. In 1967, drummer Stephen Jo Bladd and vocalist Peter Wolf joined the group, and the band went electric. Before joining The J. Geils Band, Bladd and Wolf played together in the Boston-based rock revivalist band the Hallucinations. Both musicians shared a love of arcane doo wop, blues, R&B, and rock & roll, and Wolf had become well-known by spinning such obscure singles as a jive-talking WBCN DJ called Woofuh Goofuh. Wolf and Bladd's specialized tastes became a central force in the newly revamped J. Geils Band, whose members positioned themselves as tough '50s greasers in opposition to the colorful psychedelic rockers who dominated the East Coast in the late '60s. Soon, the band had earned a sizable local following, including Seth Justman, an organist who was studying at Boston University. Justman joined the band in 1968, and the band continued to tour for the next few years, landing a record contract with Atlantic in 1970"

I have not heard any of that early music and maybe I will one day as I love the (more) raw and stripped down rock  sound of the late 60s and early 70s. It is clear the band can play (and play really well) and Peter Wolf can sing so I'm hoping that the temperament (and recording techniques) of the late 60s and early 70s suited them better.


Because here they errr, stink.

Not a big "I've just stepped in dog shit stink" but more like a "little fart stink".

Okay so "classic rock" fans would disagree but this music (to my ears) is about compromises. There is a bit of new wave (including synth) thrown in, some funk, some stadium era Kinks and some Springsteen (without the vision or the politics).

They should have stuck to their guns (from what I have read) and charted a course through white R&B or did what the Flamin Groovies were doing circa 1980 and that was going backwards into the musical past.

And they had it in them by all accounts ….they were very popular in Detroit who love their white rock loud, simple and in your face and they had quite a good a musical palette

Allmusic: "The J. Geils Band was one of the most popular touring rock & roll bands in America during the '70s. Where their contemporaries were influenced by the heavy boogie of British blues-rock and the ear-splitting sonic adventures of psychedelia, The J. Geils Band was a bar band pure and simple, churning out greasy covers of obscure R&B, doo wop, and soul tunes, cutting them with a healthy dose of Stonesy swagger".

Of course they would not have had any commercial success if they followed my advice but the Flamin Groovies' Byrds – Beatles rock of 1980 has aged better than this (or REO Speedwagon, Kansas, Styx and Boston).

Having said that there are some good tracks here (and they do remind me of early 80s Kinks – who I love) but there is a lot of padding in the "old farts jumping on the new wave band wagon and trying to sound contemporary" vein.
All songs written by Peter Wolf and Seth Justman, except where noted

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Just Can't Wait – some new wave stylings in this. Frivolous and more than a bit copycat especially from a band that has been around since the 1960s but it's a toe tapper – very poppy
  • Come Back – hard rock stylings with a little funk thrown in …lame (and they "steal" the phrase "don't be cruel" from the Elvis song)
  • Takin' You Down – MOR rocker
  • Night Time – (Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer) – This is more like it …the band nails this cover of The Strangeloves stomper from 1965 (#30).
  • No Anchovies, Please – I have no idea what this is…..maybe in means something to people from the name checked Portland, Maine. I'm sure this spoken piece is all innuendo or allegory but I have no idea what's going on. At least the band are thinking outside the box here.
  • Love Stinks – Misogynist or an accurate statement? This is a great song and I do wonder if Everclear ripped them off.
  • Trying Not to Think About It – like an extended Springsteen workout from "Born to Run" but without the passion.
  • Desire (Please Don't Turn Away) – The obligatory ballad and 80s mainstream rock ballads (even this early in the decade) were crap.
  • Till the Walls Come Tumblin' Down – more Springsteen …circa 1974. This is no mere sound-alike. Clearly the band are into the same sounds. A hoot.

And …

This is not horrible. In fact some of it is great but overall it is a bit too "mainstream" or "classic rock" for me …. I'll tape a few and sell.
Chart Action

1980  Come Back  Dance Music/Club Play Singles  #69 
1980  Come Back  The Billboard Hot 100  #32 
1980  Just Can't Wait  The Billboard Hot 100  #78 
1980  Love Stinks  The Billboard Hot 100  #38 

1980  Love Stinks  The Billboard 200  #18 



Love Stinks
Video clip

Night Time
mp3 attached

J. Geils Band – Night Time


early J Geils Band from 1972 (this rocks)





  • In case you couldn't be bothered looking up the band – J Geils is the guitarist. Most of the songs are written by vocalist Peter Wolf and keyboardist Seth Justman

About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at Cheers
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