Hall and Oates

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Hall and Oates

Hall and Oates, veteran Philadelphia-soul session musicians of the late 1960s, formed their singer-songwriter duo in the early 1970s. membership: Daryl Hall (b. Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 11, 1948); John Oates (b. N.Y., April 7, 1949).

Hall and Oates recorded several overlooked R&B-inflected albums for Atlantic Records. Breaking through with “Sara Smile” in 1976 on RCA, the duo scored a series of catchy but superficial hit songs in the 1980s, which eventually led to their surpassing the Everly Brothers as the most-charted duo of rock. Although only “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” and “One on One” became smash R&B hits, Hall and Oates placed more singles on the black charts than any other white act.

Daryl Hall and John Oates met in 1967 at Temple Univ. in Philadelphia. Both had early musical training, Hall in voice and classical piano, Oates on accordion and, later, guitar. Hall sang and recorded with the Temptones in 1966-67. Hall and Oates each worked sessions at Sigma Sound in Philadelphia under songwriter-producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, playing with soul groups such as The Delfonics and The Stylistics. The two began writing songs together and formed the group Gulliver, cutting one album for Elek-tra Records before breaking up in 1970. all and Oates began performing as a duo, eventually signing with Atlantic Records in 1972. Their debut album was overlooked, but their second, Abandoned Luncheonette, yielded a minor hit with “She’s Gone.” The song became a top R&B hit for Tavares in 1974, the year Hall and Oates recorded their final Atlantic album, War Babies. Switching to RCA Records in April 1975, Hall and Oates scored a smash pop and major R&B hit with Hall’s “Sara Smile” at the beginning of 1976. Spurred by its success, Atlantic rereleased “She’s Gone,” and the single became a near-smash hit. Daryl Hall recorded the controversial and esoteric Sacred Songs with Robert Fripp in 1977. That year the duo scored a top pop hit with “Rich Girl” and a major hit with “Back Together Again.” Subsequent major hits included “It’s a Laugh” in 1978 and “Wait for Me” in 1979.

Daryl Hall and John Oates established themselves with Voices in 1980. It stayed on the album charts for nearly two years and yielded four hit singles, including the top hit “Kiss on My List,” the smash “You Make My Dreams,” and a remake of the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” The follow-up, Private Eyes, also produced four hits, including the top hits “Private Eyes” and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” (also a top R&B, easy-listening, and dance hit!) and the near-smash “Did It in a Minute.” H2O, perhaps their best-selling album, included the top hit “Maneater” and the near-smashes “Family Man” and “One on One” (an R&B near-smash). The anthology set Rock ’n’ Soul, Part 1 included two new songs, “Say It Isn’t So” and “Adult Education,” which became smash hits. Big Bam Boom continued Hall and Oates’s hit-making ways with “Out of Touch” and “Method of Love.”

Following 1985’s Live at the Apollo, recorded with former Temptations David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick, Hall and Oates ceased working together. Oates produced the Canadian group The Parachute Club and cowrote “Electric Blue,” a near-smash for the Australian group Icehouse. Hall recorded Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, which yielded three hits, including the smash “Dreamtime” and “Somebody Like You.” The duo reunited in 1988 for Ooh Yeah! on Arista Records. It yielded three hits: the smash “Everything Your Heart Desires” (their last R&B hit), “Missed Opportunity,” and “Downtown Life.” “So Close” became Daryl Hall and John Oates’s final major pop hit in 1990.


gulliver:Gulliver (1970). daryl hall and john oates:Past Times Behind (ree. 1969-1972; rei. 1977); Whole Oates (1972); Abandoned Luncheonette (1973); War Babies (1974); No Goodbyes (1977); Daryl Hall and John Oates (1975); Bigger than Both of Us (1976); Beauty on a Back Street (1977); Livetime (1978); Along the Red Ledge (1978); X-Static (1979); Voices (1980); Private Eyes (1981); H2 O (1982); Rock ’n’ Soul, Part 1: Greatest Hits (1983); Big Bam Boom (1984); Live at the Apollo (1985); Soulful Sounds (1992); Best (1995); Ooh Yeah! (1988); Change of Season (1990); The Atlantic Collection (1996); Marigold Sky (1997). daryl hall:Sacred Songs (1980); Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine (1986); Soul Alone (1993).

—Brock Helander