Despite releasing their eponymous debut in 1970, it wasn't until 1982 that the J Geils Band finally hit #1 in the US (for the only time) on this date, with their 12th studio album Freeze-Frame. Thanks to the videos that ran constantly on MTV, Freeze-Frame remained at the top for four weeks and included multiple singles in the Billboard Hot 100. Let's take a closer look at the band's biggest seller.
The album starts with the title track, which eventually went gold when released as a single. The track has loads of sexual innuendo, and the stop/start chorus really help show the extra horn players, including Randy Brecker. The sound gets harder for "Rage in the Cage," and even with the sporadic tangents, the synthesizers and Stephen Bladd's drumming show the band venturing to pop-art territory. Listed at #52 on Billboard's All Time Top Songs, the biggest hit on the record is "Centerfold," which stayed at #1 on the charts for six weeks. Good luck not singing along with the chorus.
One of the most underrated songs in the band's catalog is the ballad "Do You Remember When?" that features an excellent vocal performance by Peter Wolf (check out that ending high note). Geils' repeated five-note pattern is a motif that remains throughout the love song. Danny Klein's frantic bass line kicks the tempo up with "Insane, Insane Again" and the single "Flamethrower" shows the band's boogie-woogie/blues roots.
The longest song on the record is "River Blindness," which uses its horns to kick off the main riff and although it is mostly synthesized, Geils' hard guitar gives the tune a nice ending. Possibly a sequel to "Centerfold," "Angel in Blue" features Luther Vandross and Cissy Houston as background singers and is one of the band's few hits that's actually a ballad. Critics still debate on the lyrics' meaning. The record ends with the poorly-titled "Piss on the Wall" and although it does have some blues harmonica playing by Magic Dick, its lyrics are still dark punk rock.