January 1982: The J. Geils Band Release the Single "Freeze Frame" b/w "Flamethrower"

Members of the pop group J. Geils Band play with paint in a warehouse. Singer Peter Wolf is in center, holding a bucket of paint. (Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
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(Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

In the early '80s, the J. Geils Band had come a long way from their days as Boston's bad boys of blues-rock. Always popular on the concert circuit, genuine chart hits would elude the group throughout the '70s.

After crashing the Top 40 with "Come Back" and the title track of relatively poppier 1980 album, Love Stinks, the band doubled-down on writing catchy songs and embracing New Wave synthesizers when it came time to record their 10th studio effort, Freeze Frame.

The move would pay off in the biggest way, as the group scored its one and only #1 song, "Centerfold," which topped the charts for six weeks. Combining the band's live reputation with radio hits made them an even bigger draw on the touring circuit. While out on the road supporting the album, J. Geils Bands' label, EMI, issued the album's second single, the Freeze Frame title track, on January 14, 1982.

The song's quirky, circus-like keyboard melody and singer Peter Wolf's infectious delivery helped propel the single right up the Hot 100 and into the Top 5, peaking at #4 on April 10, 1982.

Freeze-Frame definitely has to do with the state of the world, in our interpretation of it,” keyboard player and songwriter Seth Justman told Rolling Stone at the time. “We felt we had to deal with issues now –– especially now. The world is so fucked up –– the nuclear bullshit, the economic state. I think what an artist has to do is interpret in his own way where things are, at a particular time. That’s the best thing.”

The "Freeze Frame" single would come with deep album cut "Flamethrower" on the B-side. The funky dance track would become a hit on black radio, peaking at #25 on the Billboard Soul chart in 1982.

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