Peter Wolf

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For other people named Peter Wolf, see Peter Wolf (disambiguation).
Peter Wolf
PeterWolfPerforming.jpg
Background information
Birth name Peter W. Blankfield
Born (1946-03-07) March 7, 1946 (age 68)
Bronx, New York
United States
Genres Rock and roll, blues, blue-eyed soul
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, DJ
Instruments Vocals, piano, conga
Years active 1966–present
Labels EMI, Reprise
Associated acts The J. Geils Band
Website www.peterwolf.com

Peter Wolf (born Peter W. Blankfield; March 7, 1946) is an American rhythm and blues, soul and rock and roll musician, best known as the lead vocalist for the J. Geils Band from 1967 to 1983;[1] and for a successful solo career with writing partner Will Jennings. Wolf married actress Faye Dunaway in 1974. The marriage ended in divorce in 1979.

Life and career[edit]

Wolf was born in the Bronx, New York. He planned a career as an artist, but he got a job in the late 1960s as a disc jockey on Boston FM radio station WBCN and began exploring his interest in blues and rhythm and blues music, giving himself the nickname "the Wolfa Goofa", sometimes expanded to "the Wolfa Goofa with the Green Teeth" (as mentioned in the intro to the semi-hit "Must Have Got Lost" on J. Geils Band's Blow Your Face Out album). Later as solo artist he called himself "Woofa Goofa Mama Toofa". Wolf, Doug Slade, Joe Clark, Paul Shapiro, and Stephen Jo Bladd formed a group called the Hallucinations who performed with The Velvet Underground, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, John Lee Hooker, and Sun Ra.[2] He then saw the J. Geils Blues Band in concert and quickly joined in 1967. He was the vocalist and frontman, and often acted as a sort of manager. Wolf was known for his charismatic stage antics of fast-talking quips and "pole-vaulting" with the microphone stand. He and keyboard player Seth Justman were responsible for most of the songwriting. Creative differences followed their Freeze Frame album, causing the J. Geils Band and Peter Wolf to part ways in 1983.

Peter Wolf with the J. Geils Band in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

Wolf became a solo artist for the next 15 years, but in 1999 the J. Geils Band reunited for several appearances, with Wolf resuming his duties as lead vocalist. They separated again, and Wolf began touring as a solo act once more.

Solo work[edit]

Wolf's first solo record, Lights Out (1984) was produced by Michael Jonzun of the Jonzun Crew and featured Adrian Belew. The eponymous single became a hit single the same year, peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. He recorded many duets with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Little Milton, John Lee Hooker, Don Covay, and Wilson Pickett to name just a few.

In 1987, Wolf released his next solo album, Come As You Are, with the title track notching Wolf not only another top-15 hit on the pop charts but also a number one hit on the Mainstream Rock Charts. A later single, "Can't Get Started" also became a sizable Mainstream Rock hit.

He continued to release albums throughout the remaining years before reuniting with the J. Geils Band and returning to his solo career in the early 2000s. 1996's Long Line was co-produced with two musician friends, Johnny A. and Bob Dylan backup band member, Stu Kimball. Tim Archibald (Bass) and Brian Maes (keys and backing vocals) who are both members of "Ernie and the Automatics", played on the record and Toured in support of "Long Line." His next two solo albums, Fool's Parade and Sleepless (the latter featuring guest appearances from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), were both highly praised by Jann Wenner in Rolling Stone, receiving four-and-a-half and five stars, respectively. Sleepless (2002) was noted as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time in Rolling Stone issue 937. He has performed on stage with such diverse people as Bruce Springsteen and Phil Lesh.

Wolf toured in 2008 with Kid Rock and Rev. Run on the Rock 'n' Roll Revival tour. He performed "Love Stinks" solo with Kid Rock's band. Then he joined Kid Rock for "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", "Musta Got Lost", "Centerfold" (from the J. Geils album Freeze Frame) and "For What It's Worth".

The J. Geils Band reunited for a series of shows in 2009, including opening night at the Boston House of Blues.

On August 14, 2010 the J. Geils Band teamed up with Aerosmith for a concert at Boston's Fenway Park. The following week on August 21, the J. Geils Band performed at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan.

Wolf standing at a microphone
Wolf speaking at the 2014 Laurence L. & Thomas Winship/PEN New England Award for Songwriting ceremony held in Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Wolf's 2010 album Midnight Souvenirs won Album of the Year at the Boston Music Awards.[3][4]

On the Midnight Souvenirs album, Wolf performed duets with Shelby Lynne, Neko Case and Merle Haggard.

Personal life[edit]

Wolf was married to actress Faye Dunaway from 1974 to 1979 and singer Ina Wolf from 1979 to 1994.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Song US Hot 100 US MSR US Dance Album
1984 "Lights Out" 12 - 11 Lights Out
1984 "I Need You Tonight" 36 22 -
1984 "Crazy" - 26 -
1985 "Oo-Ee-Diddley-Bop!" 61 -
1987 "Come as You Are" 15 1 49 Come as You Are
1987 "Can't Get Started" 75 16 -
1990 "99 Worlds" 77 9 - Up to No Good
1996 "Long Line" - 21 - Long Line
1998 "Turnin' Pages" - 22 - Fool's Parade

References[edit]

  1. ^ Skelly, Richard; Jurek, Thom. "Biography: Peter Wolf". AMG. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ The Hallucinations
  3. ^ Gottlieb, Jed (December 7, 2010), Peter Wolf, Amanda Palmer lead BMA winners, Boston Herald .
  4. ^ Perry, Jonathan (December 6, 2010), Uke in hand, Palmer tops Music Awards, Boston Globe .

External links[edit]