Hall & OatesDaryl Hall & John Oates, commonly referred to as Hall & Oates, are an American pop rock duo formed in 1970 in Philadelphia. Daryl Hall is generally the lead vocalist; John Oates primarily plays electric guitar and provides backing vocals. The two write most of the songs they perform, separately or in collaboration. They achieved their greatest fame from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s with a fusion of rock and roll and rhythm and blues.
Hall and Oates have sold an estimated 40 million records. They are best known for their six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Rich Girl", "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "Out of Touch", as well as many other songs which charted in the Top 40 including the singles "You Make My Dreams", "She's Gone", "Say It Isn't So" and "Sara Smile". In total, they had 34 chart hits on the US Billboard Hot 100, seven RIAA platinum albums, and six RIAA gold albums. Billboard magazine named them the most successful duo of the rock era, surpassing Simon & Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers. They have achieved moderate success in the United Kingdom with two UK top ten albums, spending a total of 117 weeks in the UK top 75 album charts and 84 weeks in the top 75 of the UK Singles Chart.
In 2003, Hall and Oates were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Billboard magazine had Hall and Oates at No. 15 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time and the No. 1 duo, while VH1 placed the duo as No. 99 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. On September 2, 2016, they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1967–1972: Formation and early yearsDaryl Franklin Hohl (born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on October 11, 1946) and John William Oates (born in New York City, New York, on April 7, 1948) first met at the Adelphi Ballroom in Philadelphia in 1967. At the time they met, each was heading his own musical group, Hall with The Temptones and Oates with The Masters. They were there for a band competition when gunfire rang out between two rival gangs, and in trying to escape, they ran to the same service elevator. On further discovering that they were interested in the same music and that both were attending Philadelphia's Temple University, they started spending time together on a regular basis and eventually shared a number of apartments in the city. One of the apartments they shared had "Hall & Oates" on the mailbox, which became the duo's name. It would take them another two years to form a musical duo, and three years after that, they signed to Atlantic Records and released their debut album. The two didn't start working together seriously until 1970 after Oates got back from an extended stay in Europe.
1972–1974: First albumsEarly in their recording careers, Hall and Oates had trouble clearly defining their sound, alternating among folk, soul, rock and pop. None of their early albums - Whole Oats, Abandoned Luncheonette and War Babies - were very successful. Despite being produced by such big-name producers as Arif Mardin and Todd Rundgren, they had no hit singles during this time period, though Abandoned Luncheonette contained "She's Gone". This song would be covered by Lou Rawls and Tavares before Atlantic Records re-released the Hall and Oates version in 1976. "She's Gone," as covered by Tavares, did go to Number One on the R&B charts in 1974. It was originally written for Hall's first wife, Bryna Lublin (Hall), and initially inspired by Oates' being stood up on a date on New Year's Eve. Another Abandoned Luncheonette single, "Las Vegas Turnaround", was written about (and mentioned by first name) Hall's girlfriend, flight attendant and future songwriting collaborator Sara Allen. Despite the fact that none of the Atlantic albums was a huge national hit, in Minneapolis–St. Paul, a number of tracks on Abandoned Luncheonette received significant airplay on local FM station KQRS, making it a local hit. This and the other regional success the album achieved were enough to push the album into the charts, reaching #33 on Nov. 20, 1976 and staying on the charts for 38 weeks.
1975–1977: First hits
Hall and Oates left Atlantic Records after the release of War Babies to join RCA Records. Their first album for the new label, Daryl Hall & John Oates (often referred to by their fans as the silver album because of the silver foil material on the original album cover), was their first legitimate success. It contained the ballad "Sara Smile," a song Hall wrote for his aforementioned girlfriend Sara Allen. It also featured an album cover in which Hall and Oates are overly made up with cosmetic blush to the point where they looked like women, especially the long-haired and clean-shaven Hall. Hall would later say in an interview for VH1's Behind the Music that he looked like "the girl I always wanted to go out with" on that album cover. This cover was made by Pierre LaRoche, who created Ziggy Stardust for David Bowie.
"Sara Smile" became their first Top 10 hit, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1976. "She's Gone," re-released by Atlantic Records after "Sara Smile," also went to the Top 10, reaching No. 7 in October 1976. Hall and Oates followed those hits with the more pop-oriented album Bigger Than Both of Us later that year. Though the album's first single—the Philadelphia soul-oriented ballad "Do What You Want, Be What You Are"—barely made the Top 40, their second single, "Rich Girl," was a smash. The song was Hall and Oates' first No. 1 hit, reaching the top spot for the week ending March 26, 1977.
1977–1980: Leaner years and Sacred SongsAfter this small run of hits, Hall and Oates still encountered difficulty getting radio play. Despite touring constantly and recording albums with efficiency, the duo could not find any pop success for a number of reasons, mainly because of the popularity of the disco genre. By the time they released the rock-oriented albums Beauty on a Back Street in 1977 and Along the Red Ledge in 1978, disco music was trendy and taking most of the spots in popular music. Hall and Oates released X-Static in late 1979, which combined rock with dance music. The album did not fare well, although "Wait for Me" did hit the top 20. They did release a few hit singles during this period: the follow-up to "Rich Girl" ("Back Together Again") hit the Top 40, and "It's A Laugh" (from "Along The Red Ledge") hit the top 20 in 1978. In 1977, RCA attempted to push Hall to the fore with his first solo effort Sacred Songs. However, after being presented with the highly experimental recording (produced by Robert Fripp of King Crimson), RCA became unwilling to release what was, in their view, a non-commercial album. "Sacred Songs" was eventually released in 1980.
1980–1981: VoicesThe 1980s brought about significant changes for Hall and Oates. The pair felt that the biggest hindrance to their success was that their music was being filtered through outside producers, and that studio musicians were not familiar with their own tastes and thoughts. They also wished to capture the sound of New York City which, by then, had become their home. As a result, instead of recording in Los Angeles, as they had done previously, they decided to record at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, just five minutes away from their apartments, and began producing their own recordings with their touring band backing them in the studio. They also enlisted Hall's girlfriend Sara Allen (and also her younger sister Janna) as songwriting collaborators, as well as beginning a working relationship with Neil Kernon, an engineer on Voices who would work as co-producer on their succeeding two albums.
The resulting album, Voices, was written, produced and arranged by Hall and Oates in one month, according to their authorized biography Dangerous Dances (by Nick Tosches). The first two singles from the album charted fairly well, with "How Does It Feel to Be Back" charting at Number 30. The well-received cover of The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" just missed the Top 10, peaking at Number 12, but spent 14 weeks in the Top 40. After the release of that song, Oates' contribution as the lead vocalist diminished on future releases. The third single "Kiss on My List" hit Number 1 in April 1981 and remained there for three weeks. The follow-up single "You Make My Dreams" reached Number 5 in July of that year.
The other well-known song from Voices is the emotive ballad "Everytime You Go Away", with powerful lead vocals by Hall, who wrote it. British singer Paul Young had a Billboard Number 1 hit with a cover of the song in 1985. Though the Hall and Oates original (recorded in a Memphis-soul style) was never released as a single, it remains a fan favorite on the duo's greatest hits albums and was featured on their Apollo Theater album in 1985, and is frequently featured in their live set to this day.
1981–1982: Private EyesBy the time "You Make My Dreams" was falling off the charts, Hall and Oates had already released their follow-up album Private Eyes. Having worked in the studio while Voices was at its peak in popularity, the two had already recorded most of their material and perfected a fusion of their doo-wop and soul roots with New Wave energy and hard rock grit. The result was a pop classic that is often considered one of the greatest albums of the 80s and was the first Hall and Oates album to reach the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 album chart, while four singles from Private Eyes all reached the Top 40.
The title track and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" were nearly consecutive Number 1 hits, separated only by the ten-week stay at Number 1 by the monster hit "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John. "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" was one of the few songs ever recorded by a white act to reach Number One on both the R&B and the pop charts. "Did It in a Minute" reached Number 9 in the spring of 1982, and "Your Imagination" peaked at No. 33. This album is now considered among the duo's best albums, mixing soul, new wave and power pop.
1982–1983: H2OTheir next album, H2O, a very polished, synth-heavy effort, became the duo's most successful album, with US sales eventually approaching four million copies. H2O reached #3 on the Billboard album chart (where it held for 15 weeks) and spawned three Top 10 singles. "Maneater", the biggest hit of their career, reached Number 1 on December 18, 1982 and stayed there for four weeks.
The soulful ballad "One on One" and a cover of Mike Oldfield's "Family Man" reached Number 7 and Number 6 in March and June 1983, respectively.According to Oates, they recorded approximately 20 songs for the album, of which 9 didn't make the final cut. He went on to say they usually would have 5 or 6 tracks left over per album.
"One On One," with its clever mixed-metaphorical references to romance and basketball, was used in NBA commercials of the period. The commercial featured numerous players, including Hall of Famer James Worthy performing a 360-degree slow-motion lay-up during the saxophone solo.
For the H2O album, Hall and Oates made some permanent changes to their current band. Drummer Mickey Curry, who had appeared on some Private Eyes tracks, including the title song, replaced Jerry Marotta full-time. Bassist Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, who had mimed John Siegler's bass line in the "Private Eyes" video, replaced Siegler full-time. These two joined the band's holdovers—lead guitar player G.E. Smith, and saxophonist Charlie "Mr. Casual" DeChant. De Chant and Wolk continued to perform with the duo until Wolk's death in early 2010, while Curry returned for the Do It for Love sessions.
1983–1984: Rock 'n Soul Part 1By the fall of 1983, Hall and Oates were one of the biggest pop music acts in the United States. They had five Number 1 singles to their credit, two consecutive Top 10 albums and were one of the biggest names on MTV. Two covers of the 1957 Bobby Helms classic "Jingle Bell Rock" were recorded—one with Hall on lead vocals, and the other with Oates on lead vocals—and released in time for Christmas 1983, complete with a humorous video of the band, that received extensive airplay on MTV. In 1983, they released their first greatest hits album entitled Rock 'n Soul Part 1. The album peaked at Number 7, and the two new songs that were written and recorded for that LP also became Top 10 hits as well.
The first single released from this album, "Say It Isn't So", battled six weeks for the Number 1 spot with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson's "Say Say Say" at the peak of Thriller mania. "Say It Isn't So" remained at Number 2 for an impressive four weeks from December 1983 to January 1984.Hall and Oates' follow-up single "Adult Education" received heavy airplay at both pop and black (urban contemporary) radio, and reached Number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1984. It was accompanied by a dark, New York City-oriented music video set in a cave. Oates later told VH1 that the clip resembled the Survivor TV show on acid.
1984–1985: Big Bam BoomHall and Oates returned to the studio in 1984 after a rest period to begin work on the Big Bam Boom album. This album had even more of an electronic, urban feel to it than H2O, combining their song structure and vocalization with the latest technical advances in recording and playing. The album employed some of the most sophisticated equipment ever used in the recording industry at the time (most notably the Synclavier II, one of the first computerized synthesizer workstations, as well as the Fairlight CMI). Noted remix and hip-hop icon Arthur Baker worked very closely with the duo as a consultant, and produced dance remixes of four of the album's singles.
The lead-off song "Dance on Your Knees" (written by Hall and Baker) is basically an homage to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's song "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)". Released in late 1984, the first single from the LP, "Out of Touch", became the group's sixth number 1 hit on December 8, 1984. "Method of Modern Love", which debuted on the pop charts while "Out of Touch" was at number 1, reached number 5 in February 1985. "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" reached number 18, and "Possession Obsession" (a song in which Oates sings lead) reached number 30 in 1985 as well. The group's "Live Thru '85" tour to promote the album began in November 1984, sponsored by Pontiac's latest sports car, the Fiero. In addition, Pontiac allowed Oates, a skilled amateur racer, to drive in Pontiac's factory IMSA GTU race car in Camel GT pro races. In April 1984, the Recording Industry Association of America named Hall & Oates the most successful duo in rock history.
1985–1988: Live at the Apollo/Other ProjectsHall and Oates have almost always toured extensively for each album release. But in 1985, the duo took a break after the release of their Live at the Apollo album with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks—voices of The Temptations and two of their heroes. This was RCA's second attempt at a live Hall and Oates album, following the 1978 release Livetime. Live at the Apollo was released primarily to fulfill the duo's contract with RCA, and contained a Top 20 Grammy-nominated hit with a medley of "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and "My Girl"; Ruffin and Kendrick had originally recorded both songs with the Temptations in 1964.
Hall and Oates had collaborated on the USA for Africa "We Are the World" project, with the former as one of the soloists and the latter as a chorus member, and performed at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, with Ruffin and Kendrick. The Hall and Oates band also backed up Mick Jagger's performance at this show.
Hall, Oates, Ruffin and Kendrick performed again at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York later that year, complete with an Apollo Theater-style marquee descending on the stage during their performance.
In May, 1985, Hall and Oates performed at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Just prior to Live Aid, on July 4, they participated in Liberty Concert, an outdoor benefit concert at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. It became a major music event, drawing an estimated crowd of over 60,000 people.
In 1986, Hall scored a Top 5 US hit with "Dreamtime", from his solo album Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine. That album also included the Top 40 hit "Foolish Pride" and the Top 100 hit "Somebody Like You," later performed by the duo live on their "Behind the Music" set. Although Oates did not have a solo hit as a singer, he did contribute a solo track to the film About Last Night and co-wrote (with Iva Davies) and performed backing vocals on the 1987 Icehouse top 10 US hit "Electric Blue." Oates also worked as producer, co-songwriter and co-lead vocalist of the single "Love Is Fire" by The Parachute Club, which was a top 40 hit in Canada in 1987.
1988–1990: The Arista yearsHall and Oates signed with Arista Records, their third record company, in 1987, shortly before the string of Top 10 hits ended, in Tommy Mottola's effort to keep them under contract when their RCA obligation ran out. Their first album for the label, Ooh Yeah!, included the hits "Everything Your Heart Desires" (Number 3 in May 1988—their last to make the Top 10), "Missed Opportunity", and "Downtown Life". Beginning with Ooh Yeah!, album and single releases were credited as Daryl Hall John Oates, with the '&' or 'and' missing between the duo's names. It was the last Hall and Oates album, other than greatest hits packages, to enjoy platinum success. They recorded one more album for Arista called Change of Season. The album's first single "So Close" (co-produced by Jon Bon Jovi) reached Number 11 and was Hall & Oates' last major hit. Another song from the album, "Don't Hold Back Your Love", was named by SOCAN as the second-most performed song in Canada for 1992; it became a hit for Australian Sherbet front man Daryl Braithwaite in his solo years, and has become a Hall and Oates staple in concert. Change of Season was a more mainstream rock album than their previous work. Despite the fact that Ooh Yeah! and Change of Season reached platinum and gold status respectively, they were perceived as disappointments. In 1989, they covered and did their own version of the O'Jays song Love Train for the movie Earth Girls Are Easy.
1991–2006The duo's occasional songwriting collaborator Janna Allen died of leukemia in 1993. Hall and Oates released the Marigold Sky album in 1997 (their first all-new studio album in seven years), which included an Adult Contemporary hit "Promise Ain't Enough". They also released a "VH1 Behind the Music" Greatest Hits package shortly after appearing on the show in 2002. At the same time, Daryl and Sara, professional/personal collaborators, broke off their romantic relationship after some three decades. Their friendship is still apparently strong; he has noted her help in his recovery from his 2005 attack of Lyme disease. Hall and Oates released the Do It for Love album in 2003, whose title track was a number-one Adult Contemporary hit. They have also released the Hall & Oates Live DVD from an A&E Live by Request special. This album was the first release (and first success) for their newest joint venture U-Watch Records. Hall has also released the solo albums Soul Alone (1993) and Can't Stop Dreaming (originally released in Japan in 1996), and a live two-disc solo album titled Live in Philadelphia (2004).
Hall and Oates covered Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom" on the 1991 John/Taupin tribute album "Two Rooms", saying in the booklet: "We chose 'Philadelphia Freedom' because the music is so close to our hearts, and the lyrics represent the way we feel about Philadelphia." Oates released his own solo album in 2002 entitled Phunk Shui and a companion live concert DVD. Hall and Oates also released their first CD of (mostly) covers, Our Kind of Soul, in 2004. It includes some of their favorite R&B songs, such as "I'll Be Around" (their first Hot 100 entry in over a decade), "Love T.K.O.", and Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You", among others. Hall and Oates are still on the touring circuit, traveling nearly as much as they did in years past. In addition, a DVD of live performances of the songs from Our Kind of Soul was released in November 2005.
Hall and Oates released a Christmas album, Home For Christmas, on October 3, 2006, which contained two Christmas originals and covers, including a version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear", which became their second number one Adult Contemporary hit.
2007–2013: Solo projects and hiatusIn September 2007, representatives of Montreal-based band Chromeo stated in a press release, "Indeed, Chromeo's idols Hall and Oates have asked them to collaborate with them on their upcoming record! Needless to say, the gentlemen are giddy like schoolchildren to be given this opportunity," as reported by Pitchfork Media. This collaboration with Chromeo was expected to be released in late 2008/early 2009, and was released as "Live from Daryl's House." On May 20, 2008, Hall and Oates were honored as BMI Icons at the 56th annual BMI Pop Awards. As of 2008, their songwriting has collected 24 BMI Pop Awards and 14 BMI Million-Air awards.
There were two notable nationally televised appearances for the duo in late 2008. On October 27, Oates sang the National Anthem before Game 5 of the 2008 World Series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (Hall had taken sick, and the game was called on account of rain after the top of the 6th inning, but resumed on October 29, and the Phillies won, claiming their first World Series Championship in 28 years). (Though born in New York, Oates was raised in a suburb of Philadelphia and attended Temple University.) Then, on December 11, both Hall and Oates appeared on the year's last episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. They sang a satirical tribute to Alan Colmes, as he would leave the show Hannity and Colmes on Fox News a month later. On March 24, 2009, Hall and Oates performed together on the American television show Dancing with the Stars. During 2009, the duo recorded a cameo for the movie You Again, performing "Kiss On My List" for the final scene and closing credits.
On May 22 and 23, 2008, they performed at the Troubadour, 35 years after first performing there as an opening act. They played many popular selections, including 'Cab Driver' from Hall's solo album as well as several songs from the 'Abandoned Luncheonette' album, including 'Had I Known You Better Then' which had never been performed live before. The performance was recorded as a concert film and later released in the US as a double CD set with DVD/Blu-ray Combo on November 25, 2008. In 2009 the live performances of 'Sara Smile' from this album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, an incredible 33 years after the original song was released. Concerning the nomination, Daryl considered it truly a surprise. This made it the third time that the band was nominated for a Grammy Award; the other two times were in 1981 for 'Private Eyes' and 1983 for 'Maneater'.
On October 13, 2009, a 4-CD box set was released, titled Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall and John Oates. This set represents the most comprehensive hits collection by the duo as it includes songs from various labels. Also included are three songs recorded by Hall and Oates with their earlier bands prior to their forming Hall and Oates as a duo. The boxed set sold 5,000 copies the first hour and, in total, it has sold 15,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, peaking at No. 89 on the Billboard 200 on October 23, 2009. In one of the last concerts at the Wachovia Spectrum, Hall and Oates and Philadelphia-area musicians The Hooters and Todd Rundgren headlined a concert titled "Last Call". In 2010, Hall and Oates embarked on their "Do What You Want, Be What You Are" tour in the United States. They appeared on the American Idol season finale on May 26, 2010 performing "You Make My Dreams". Also in 2010, Hall and Oates announced they would join a growing artists' boycott of the state of Arizona over the state's recently passed anti-illegal immigrant laws.
On May 8, 2012, the two performed on the NBC reality singing competition The Voice.
2013–present: Hall of Fame induction and touring
On October 16, 2013, Hall and Oates were announced as 2014 nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were announced as inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 on December 16, 2013.
Hall started his monthly web series Live From Daryl's House in 2007 after having the idea of "playing with my friends and putting it up on the Internet". The series features him jamming with various guest musicians in his house in the woods. Guest artists on the show have run the gamut of musical styles and influences, and have included Smokey Robinson, Robby Krieger from The Doors, Rumer, Nick Lowe, Cee-lo Green, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Darius Rucker, and Chromeo. In 2010, Live From Daryl's House won a Webby Award in the Variety category.
In May 2014, Hall's home renovation program, Daryl's Restoration Over-Hall, premiered on the DIY Network. On July 15, 2014, Hall and Oates performed in Ireland as a duo for the very first time (they each performed independently as solo acts before) at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin. The event was recorded, packaged as a 2 CD/DVD set and released as 'Live In Dublin' in Germany March 27, 2015 and in the US on March 30, 2015. Hall and Oates indicated that the recorded concert was also being released in movie theaters nationwide for one day only.
The duo made a cameo in the 2015 Happy Madison film Pixels. On September 2, 2016, Hall and Oates received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work in the music industry, located at 6752 Hollywood Boulevard.
In March 2017, it was announced that they would be touring the US from May until the end of July 2017. The 29 date arena tour was with co-headliner Tears for Fears. Hall & Oates headlined the BluesFest 2017 at the London O2 arena on 28 October 2017 supported by Chris Isaak. They played a Dublin concert the following night.