Great Rock Albums of 1981: J Geils Band- Freeze Frame



In the UK, The J. Geils Band are considered one hit wonders and “Freeze Frame” is the album which produced the one hit that they are known for. “Centerfold” was a humungous hit for them, not just in the US or UK, but throughout most of the world. I was in Israel in April of 1982 and it was in the top ten charts there. I think it was number five. The truth is that they are definitely not one hit wonders in the US. Not only was “Love Stinks” a big hit for them in 1980 but this very 1981 album produced some other hits as well.

As all of us know by now, it doesn’t take a couple of top 40 hits to make a good album and “Freeze Frame” has plenty of good material on it. I love the organ intro in the title track, which is the very first song on the album and there is some catchy keyboard melodies with “Flamethrower.” Both are really good songs and I like the Devo like sound with “Rage in the Cage.” A similar new wave sound is heard quite pleasingly on “Insane, Insane Again.” However, they don’t totally abandon their blues rock sound from the 70s. “Angel in Blue” is very reminiscent of that sound and has another memory for me. It wasn’t Twinkles at the Driftwood but another dancer at another similar type go-go bar. My memory is foggy, I will blame it on too much beer that night, but I think it was a bar called The Other Place. The dancer, who was dressed in blue, moved along to this song in a very hypnotic way. Even though this was the first time I heard this song in many years, that memory of the dancer’s movements to this song is etched in my brain. Still, it’s a fantastic song and the album ends with the very cool and amusing “Piss On the Wall.”

Track Listing:

1. Freeze Frame

2. Rage in the Cage

3. Centerfold

4. Do You Remember When

5. Insane, Insane Again

6. Flamethrower

7. River Blindness

8. Angel in Blue

10. Piss On the Wall

The J Geils Band

The J Geils Band

Peter Wolf- vocals

J. Geils- guitar

Seth Justman- keyboards

Danny Klein- bass

Magic Dick- harmonica, trumpet, saxophone

Stephen Bladd- drums

It’s a shame that the J. Geils Band only had the one hit in the UK when they had so many great records in the US. “Freeze Frame” itself has so many great songs on it alone. So, I hope my British readers will take my word for it and check this album out for themselves. In spite of all that I have said here, The J. Geils band aren’t my choice for the best American act not to crack the UK. After all, they did have one hit. That one is still yet to come.

Next post: Foreigner 4

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6 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1981: J Geils Band- Freeze Frame”

  1. For me it was their album Bloodshot which was pressed on red vinyl. With songs like “Give It to Me” and “(Ain’t Nothin’ But a) House Party” that album really showed what was possible when R&B comes served with a lot of blues.


    • I have been saying to myself for many years that I need to check out they’re earlier stuff. I guess it’s time and it sounds like “Bloodshot” is the album to start with, thanks.


  2. Still remember riding on a school bus in the early eighties going on a field trip and a girl was playing Love Stinks over an over as she had broken up,with her boyfriend and he was sitting at the back of the bus …hahaha….
    I can totally see the one hit wonder tag sticking though and unfortunately I fall into that category as Freeze Frame was my only purchase of there’s ……
    Oh yeah did they not have a followup record with a single called Concealed Weapons??
    Hahah if so loved that track at the time as well…


    • That song appears on their 1984 album “You’re Getting Even While I’m Getting Odd” and I will be visiting that one when I get to that year. I can definitely sympathise with that girl on the bus. There were times back then when that song applied to me.


  3. I remember being afraid to buy this album since it had songs called Centerfold and Piss On the Wall, my parents would have never allowed that. Loved the videos J. Geils had during that time especially the tub of milk taking the place of a drum head, that’s always stuck with me for some reason.


    • It sounds like the video for “Freeze Frame” which is a funny video with all the paint being splattered around. Of course, it’s not too late to buy the album now, I’m sure your parents won’t find out. ;@)


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