Love Stinks – J. Geils Band | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#38); 1980

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The J. Geils Band first charted in 1971 when their self-titled album peaked at #195 and spent all of two weeks on Billboard’s national list. Subsequent releases did better; at least reaching the Top 100.

Two even went gold. Still, that wasn’t much of a showing for one of Boston’s premier bands. Then again, as time would prove, the retro-sounding R&B/rock ‘n’ roll outfit wasn’t behind the times: it was ahead of ’em. In 1980 the twelfth slab of J. Geils vinyl hit the streets. Entitled Love Stinks, it featured nine Seth Justman/Peter Wolf compositions.

The first to be released as a single, Come Back, rose to #32. The second, Love Stinks, performed similarly, topping out at #38. However, Top 40 peaks told only part of the story. The more important media venue for rock bands such as J. Geils was FM radio.

Deejays spun J. Geils into the ether 24/7; driving the Love Stinks album to #17. On the strength of such supportive airplay, the title tune became a J. Geils signature tune and classic rock classic track.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Seth Justman

Lyrics Written by:

  • Peter Wolf
  • Seth Justman