The J. Geils Band: Freeze-Frame / Flamethrower


Format: 7″

Label: EMI (B-8108)

Country: US

Year: 1982

Price paid: $2

Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY


Her hot-spot love for me is strong

This freeze-frame moment can’t be wrong

When you’re writing a blog about New Wave sometimes you’ve gotta contemplate questions that wouldn’t typically pop into your head on any given day. A question like- “Is The J. Geils Band actually New Wave, or were they just a band that had been around since the late 60s and happened to acquire some stylistic attributes of the genre, while being in the right place at the right time to receive a heavy dose of MTV airtime?”

And then there’s those times when you just gotta make the call and go with your gut…

Turns out The J. Geils Band had been around long before they stuck mega-gold with the holy trinity of ‘Love Stinks’, ‘Centerfold’, and ‘Freeze-Frame.’ Who knew? Formed as a R&B/blues outfit in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the band had a few minor hits including 1974’s ‘Must Of Got Lost’ (which reached #12 on the US charts) before evolving a not unpleasant radio-friendly pop sound as the 80s dawned. Having spat out those three aforementioned nuggets of gold they decided to call it a day in 1985.

‘Freeze-Frame’ is the first single taken from the band’s 1981 album of the same name (their twelfth LP!) It reached #4 on the US Billboard charts in April of 1982 and stayed at that position for four weeks. It peaked the UK charts at a more modest #27. The B-side ‘Flamethrower’ was picked up by black radio stations at the time and reached #20 on the Billboard Soul Chart.

The sleeve art for the single isn’t bad but it’s kind of a cheat, as it consists primarily of images from the LP art- cut, pasted, and re-arranged. On the plus side, the source material is top notch and the composition tastefully executed- complete with a tasty pink-and-green color combo, a genre staple. Although somewhat cheesy, the plug for three of the band’s albums on the reverse at least works from an aesthetic point of view.




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