Peter Wolf

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Peter Wolf
Background information
Birth namePeter Walter Blankfield
Also known asWoofa Goofa
Born (1946-03-07) March 7, 1946 (age 76)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • painter
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • guitar
  • harmonica
  • percussion
Years active1964–present

Peter Wolf (born March 7, 1946)[1] is an American musician best known as the lead vocalist of the J. Geils Band from 1967 to 1983[2] and as a solo artist.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Peter Wolf was born Peter Walter Blankfield on March 7, 1946 in The Bronx, New York, New York.[1] He attended the High School of Music & Art, located in west Harlem, Manhattan, near the Apollo Theater.[when?] He often attended the Apollo, seeing many of the famous soul, rhythm & blues, and gospel artists who influenced him.

He moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts[1] on scholarship, where he studied painting.[when?] His first roommate was film director David Lynch.


In 1964, Wolf and fellow art students Paul Shapiro (guitar), Doug Slade (guitar), Joe Clark (bass), and Stephen Jo Bladd (drums) formed a music group, The Hallucinations. They performed at nightclubs in the Combat Zone area of Boston and developed a large following as one of the first bands to play at the Boston Tea Party. During this period, they appeared on bills with The Velvet Underground, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison (who became close with Wolf while residing in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts), John Lee Hooker, and Sun Ra.[4]

During his time performing with the Hallucinations, Wolf was asked to help establish Boston's radio station WBCN and became their first all-night deejay creating the moniker Woofa Goofa as his on-air personality.[1] His show became a popular late night staple where he interviewed many of the well-known rock, blues, and jazz artists that were touring through Boston in the late 1960s.

In 1967, Wolf and Bladd joined the J. Geils Band. Wolf and keyboardist Seth Justman were responsible for most of the band's songwriting. During the early days of MTV, the band enjoyed heavy airplay of their videos "Centerfold" and "Love Stinks". They toured stadiums with the Rolling Stones and others. Following the success of Freeze Frame, the other band members wanted to take the band in a new pop direction musically, but Wolf wanted to stick to a more roots-based direction so he was asked to leave in 1983. In the ensuing years the band has been nominated five times for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Solo work[edit]

Peter Wolf jumping (1982)

Wolf's first solo record Lights Out (1984) was produced with Michael Jonzun of the Jonzun Crew. The album features Adrian Belew, G. E. Smith, Elliot Randall, Yogi Horton, Mick Jagger, Elliot Easton, and Maurice Starr. The single "Lights Out" written with Don Covay became a hit the same year, peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1985, Wolf duetted with Aretha Franklin on the track "Push" from her album Who's Zoomin' Who? and also appeared on the Artists United Against Apartheid song, "Sun City". In 1987, Wolf released his second solo album Come as You Are, with the title track notching Wolf another top-15 hit on the pop chart and a number one hit on the Mainstream Rock Chart. A later single "Can't Get Started" received radio play.

His album Long Line (1996) and Fool's Parade (1998) started his collaboration with singer/songwriter Kenny White producing. Sleepless (2002) featured guest appearances from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and was highly praised by Rolling Stone. as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Wolf has collaborated with Angelo Petraglia and long-time writing partner Will Jennings. Wolf's 2010 album Midnight Souvenirs won Album of the Year at the Boston Music Awards.[5][6] On the album, Wolf performed duets with Shelby Lynne, Neko Case, and Merle Haggard. His eighth solo album, A Cure for Loneliness, was released in April 2016.[7]

Wolf inducted Jackie Wilson and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Personal life[edit]

Wolf married actress Faye Dunaway in 1974.[8] They divorced in 1979.[9]


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected details and chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales



Lights Out 24 94 17
Come as You Are
  • Released: March 20, 1987
  • Label: EMI America
53 26
Up to No Good
  • Released: February 19, 1990
  • Label: MCA
111 46
Long Line
  • Released: May 14, 1996
  • Label: Reprise
Fool's Parade
  • Released: September 29, 1998
  • Label: Mercury
  • Released: September 10, 2002
  • Label: Artemis
Midnight Souvenirs
  • Released: April 6, 2010
  • Label: Verve
45 12
A Cure for Loneliness
  • Released: April 8, 2016
  • Label: Concord
144 18 5
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Song US Hot 100 US MSR US Dance AUS[14] CAN Album
1984 "Lights Out" 12 6 11 46 15 Lights Out
1984 "I Need You Tonight" 36 22 - 85
1984 "Crazy" - 26 -
1985 "Oo-Ee-Diddley-Bop!" 61 -
1987 "Come as You Are" 15 1 49 72 29 Come as You Are
1987 "Can't Get Started" 75 16 -
1990 "99 Worlds" 77 9 - 56 Up to No Good
1996 "Long Line" - - - Long Line
1998 "Turnin' Pages" - - - Fool's Parade


  1. ^ a b c d Coffey, Carl (March 7, 2018). "It's the Woofa Goofa Peter Wolf's birthday". Townsquare Media, Inc. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  2. ^ Skelly, Richard; Jurek, Thom. "Biography: Peter Wolf". AMG. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  3. ^ "Peter Wolf's 'Cure for Loneliness': Music With An Undercurrent Of Melancholy". Retrieved 2021-04-25.
  4. ^ "The Hallucinations". The Music Museum of New England. 28 December 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  5. ^ Gottlieb, Jed (December 7, 2010), "Peter Wolf, Amanda Palmer lead BMA winners", Boston Herald
  6. ^ Perry, Jonathan (December 6, 2010). "Uke in hand, Palmer tops Music Awards". The Boston Globe.
  7. ^ Horowitz, Hal (April 7, 2016), "Peter Wolf: A Cure for Loneliness", American Songwriter
  8. ^ Lester, Peter (5 October 1981). "Dunaway Does Crawford". People. New York City. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  9. ^ Giles, Jeff (August 7, 2015). "45 Years Ago: J. Geils Band Singer Peter Wolf Marries Actress Faye Dunaway". Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  10. ^ "Peter Wolf - Chart history - Billboard 200". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Peter Wolf - Chart history - Rock Albums". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Peter Wolf - Chart history - Folk Albums". Billboard.
  13. ^ "Peter Wolf - Chart history - Independent Albums". Billboard.
  14. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 342. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ "Swedish Charts > Peter Wolf". Hung Medien.
  16. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.

External links[edit]