Thursday, July 12, 2012

J. Geils Band - Love Stinks

You have to just love a video that starts with the drummer playing on his set in an alley with frozen fish (yes, you read that correctly), followed by some great power chords and a guy playing two trumpets while bouncing on a pogo stick.  Welcome to the wonderful, slightly insane world of the J. Geils Band.

The band formed in the late 1960's, and had a solid career in the 1970's, with its blues-influenced bar rock and energetic live shows.  Their breakout album was, of course, 1981's Freeze Frame, which was a #1 LP with two top five singles ("Centerfold" and the title cut).  As is typical for ERV, we are going to dig a tiny bit deeper and go with the title song from their 1980 album -- Love Stinks.  

"Love Stinks" is a bit more rocking than most of J. Geils' early 80's songs, but shows the direction that the band was moving towards -- a more radio friendly sound with strong hooks and slick production techniques.    Ironically, this transition would lead to huge success a year later but also accelerated the end of the band, as the creative tensions between singer Peter Wolf and keyboardist Seth Justman (the band's songwriters) took its toll.

While the Love Stinks album peaked at #18, the single of the same name barely broke the top 40 at #38.  The well done video (unusual for its day) did generate some airplay on shows such as HBO's Video Jukebox, but was released before the video music revolution took hold.  Pity.

Some additional cool J. Geils insanity, also off the Love Stinks LP:  "No Anchovies, Please."

Cool trivia fact:  "Love Stinks" was the 83rd video ever played on MTV, and was played on the first day that the video channel was up.

J. Geils' "Come Back" was posted on ERV in June 2015.

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