In 1980, the band scored a slew of Hot 100 Billboard singles including "Freeze-Frame", "Love Stinks", and "Centerfold", and were staples on MTV.
The guitarist, whose group was best known for their 1982 hit Centrefold, was pronounced dead at his home in Groton, Massachusetts, on Tuesday.
A preliminary investigation indicates that 71-year-old Geils died of natural causes, police said in a statement.
Before the band found mainstream success in the 1980s, the J. Geils Band were one of the more popular rock bands of the 1970s. Both live albums - "Live" Full House and "Blow Your Face Out" - are considered timeless rock-blues classics that captured the band at the height of their craziest. They scored a few Top 40 singles in the early Seventies, including "Give It to Me" and their cover of "Lookin' for a Love", an early Sixties tune by the Valentinos. Then along came their Freeze Frame album (1981), which-finally-made stars out of the hard-working band.
It switched focus in 1967, recruiting the energetic frontman and lead singer Peter Wolf and becoming the J. Geils Blues Band, with "blues" later being dropped.
Groups like U2, the Eagles, and Billy Joel all opened for The J. Geils Band in the early '80s before the group disbanded in 1985. "R.I.P Jay Geils", Wolf wrote.
The band has been nominated four times for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Wolf left the band to pursue a solo career and did not appear on its final album, released in 1984.
The musician was found dead at his home in Groton, Massachusetts, on Tuesday. They reunited in 1999 for a tour, and have done occasional concerts and short tours in the years since.
Geils lived in Groton for over three decades, and his love for the town has led to Groton, in 2007, designating December 1 as "J".
The band member who provided the moniker to the J. Geils Band has reportedly died.
While J. Geils will be sorely missed it is certain his music will continue to populate the airwaves and inspire singalongs until the end of time.
In 1992, Geils returned to music, forming the band Bluestime with Magic Dick.