Okay, I know. I didn’t really intend to do five days worth of 1980 solid gold, but I couldn’t leave out one of my favorite records of all time just because it didn’t feature top 100 hits.
In January of 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks. As someone who still owns the J. Geils discography on vinyl, I celebrate this album above all their others. It was the first album of theirs that I ever bought. I was in 6th grade and I scrimped and saved my allowance to finally buy the record when we visited my cousins in Louisiana. The two songs that hit mainstream airwaves were “Come Back” and the title song, “Love Stinks.” “Come Back,” to this day, is probably my favorite song of theirs, as it was my first favorite (“One Last Kiss” from the preceding album, Sanctuary, probably runs a close second–running neck and neck with “House Party” from their classic Bloodshot). It was a perfect mix of rock, blues, and synth. “Love Stinks” kept with their tongue-in-cheek blues attitude, and had one of the best videos ever. I fondly remember sleep overs with my friend. We would sleep at her older sister’s house because she had MTV. We would stay up all hours of the night watching the goofy videos of MTV’s early days. “Love Stinks” with its drumming with fish and Pogo-hopping trumpeter is poetry in motion.
JGB set themselves apart from other acts of the late 70s and early 80s because of their deep blues roots. The band from Boston, who considered Detroit a second home, kept their blues flavor while experimenting with doo wop (think “I Do” from Monkey Island), even on their most mainstream and most electronic album Freeze Frame. Any band featuring a guy named Magic Dick on the harp that can hit number 1 on the Billboard Charts deserves kudos (“Centerfold” from Freeze Frame peaked at number 1 in 1981).
P.S. Voting for the 2017 Class of Inductees into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is currently open. I’ve been voting for JGB to finally be inducted. Time to get Peter Wolf and the boys in the Hall!
So today’s twofer are: