BIG Music News: J. Geils, The Beatles

J. GEILS BAND:  Guitarist J. Geils has passed away at age 71

The guitarist and namesake founder of the J. Geils Band has died. According to Boston's WCVB, John Warren Geils Jr. was found dead Tuesday in his Groton, Massachusetts home. He was 71. The cause of death has been called natural causes.

The hard-driving R&B band band, which featured vocalist Peter Wolf, built its reputation around Boston and began making records in 1970. But a change to pop and soul brought the sextet chart success with the reggae-flavored "Give It to Me" and "Must of Got Lost." The band's big year was 1982, when Freeze Frame spun off a pair of smashes in the title track (which went Top 5) and "Centerfold," which spent six weeks at number-one.

Wolf left the band to go solo, and Geils reformed it on several occasions, though he stopped performing 2012. In recent years, the band named for him performed without him, which led to litigation. He also led the band Bluestime with Geils Band harp player Magic Dick and released three jazz albums under his own name. 

Geils was back in the news last November when he was arrested on DUI charges after rear-ending another car.

Here are a few early reactions from the music community, led by that of J. Geils Band singer Peter Wolf:

"Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils"

Foghat drummer Roger Earl: “We just heard that J. Geils has passed away. Sad. We did so many shows with them back in the 70's and they were one of the best bands we ever toured with. Great, great music. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren: “Sad to lose J. Geils. Me n Grin learned so much opening for @TheJ_GeilsBand. J and band were always kind. RIP John.”

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello: “RIP J. Geils. A great rocker in a great rockin band.”

Whitesnake singer David Coverdale: “Thoughts & Prayers To The Family, Friends & Fans Of J. Geils...RIP.”  

THE BEATLES:  Latest on Sgt. Pepper's 50th anniversary 

More information has been divulged on the upcoming 50th Anniversary Edition of The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Reissue producer Giles Martin, the son of the album's original producer George Martin, held the first of three scheduled industry listening events around the world last night (Monday) at Abbey Road Studios in London. He'll be in New York April 28th and L.A. May 2nd, too.

Rolling Stone had a reporter in London who noted 10 new things you'll hear on the album's 34 previously unissued bonus tracks .

The original hummed ending of "A Day in the Life," which was later replaced with pianos.

Various takes of the same song with the piano ending."Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with a long guitar jam at the start."

Penny Lane," which was used as a pre-album single, with different backing vocals and handclaps from John and Paul.

The first take of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," with John on acoustic guitar, Paul on electric keyboards and a much more powerful lead vocal from John than the one we've come to know.

An early version of "Within You, Without Out," featuring George Harrison's verbal back-and-forth with the Indian musicians who play on it.

The first take of "Getting Better," another song that would undergo significant change before the take that was used.

An early take of "With a Little Help from My Friends," with Paul on piano, John on guitar and George on cowbell.

A "much more rocking" version of "Fixing a Hole."

A version of "Sgt Pepper (Reprise)" recorded in Studio One, instead of their Studio Two, where they usually recorded, leading to a "more spontaneous live band feel."

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