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Hall & Oates

From Academic Kids

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Daryl Hall and John Oates.

Hall & Oates is the popular music duo made up of Daryl Hall and John Oates, who were popular in the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s, and who used a unique variety of ballad-oriented pop-blue eyed soul to dominate the charts.

They are best known for hits like "Out of Touch," "Private Eyes," "Maneater," "Rich Girl," "She's Gone," "Kiss On My List" and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." Their first single, "Sara Smile," was recorded in 1975 and reached #4 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 1976.

The duo recorded over a dozen Top 40 hits in addition to the songs already listed. They last reached the pop Top 40 in 1990 and the two slowly faded from public view, although they did not formally break up. The duo's music did make the Adult Contemporary charts in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

A greatest hits compilation was released in 2001 from BMG Entertainment.

Daryl Hall first met John Oates at the Adelphi Ballroom in Philadelphia in 1967 while attending Temple. Both were heading their own musical groups - the Temptones (Hall) and the Masters (Oates) - at the time. They were there at a band competition when gunfire rang out between two rival black gangs, and in trying to escape, they ran to the same service elevator. Because of their similar musical tastes, they quickly became acquainted. It would take them another two years to form a musical duo, and three years after that, they had signed to Atlantic Records and released their debut.

Contents

First albums (1972-1974)

Early on in their recording careers, Hall & Oates had trouble clearly defining their sound, alternating between R&B, soul, folk-rock, and pop music. 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 the classic song "She's Gone," which would be covered by Lou Rawls and Tavares before Atlantic Records re-released it in 1976. It was around this time that Hall & Oates started developing a reputation of being "blue-eyed soulsters," largely based on the soulful sound of "She's Gone."

First Hits (1975-1977)

Hall & Oates left Atlantic Records after the release of War Babies to join RCA. Their first album for the new label, Daryl Hall & John Oates, was their first legitimate success. It contained the ballad "Sara Smile," a song Daryl wrote for his girlfriend Sara Allen, and featured an album cover in which the two are overly made-up to the point where they looked like women. Hall would later say in an interview for VH1 Behind the Music that he looked like "the girl I always wanted to go out with" on that album cover. "Sara Smile" became their first top-ten hit, reaching number four on the Billboard Top 100 charts in June 1976. "She's Gone," re-released by Atlantic Records after "Sara Smile" went to the top ten, reached number seven in October 1976. Hall & Oates followed those hits with the more pop-oriented Bigger Than the Both of Us LP later that year. Though the first single from the album - "Do What You Want, Be What You Are" - barely made the top 40, the second single was a smash. The song ("Rich Girl"), was Hall & Oates' first number one hit, reaching the pinnicle on March 26, 1977. To this day, "Sara Smile," "She's Gone," and "Rich Girl" are considered some of Hall & Oates' best material.

Leaner Years and "Sacred Songs" (1978-1980)

After this small run of hits, Hall & Oates encountered something of a dry spell. Despite touring constantly and recording albums with efficiency, the duo could not find any pop success for a number of reasons. First, as Oates would later say, they were "in a learning process in the '70s." The two were still fine-tuning their soul-rock style. Also, the musical climate at the time was not very receptive to their sound. By the time they released rock-oriented Along the Red Ledge (an album that is generally well-received today) in 1978, America was moving its collective body on the dance floors at the discos. Artists like The Bee Gees and Donna Summer were dominating the pop music charts. Hall & Oates tried to jump on the disco bandwagon with the release of X-Static in late 1979, but by then dance music was out of favor, and that album didn't fare well at all. They did record some good songs during this time period, like "Back Together Again," "It's a Laugh," and "Wait for Me," but the best from Hall & Oates was still ahead. Also during this time period, RCA attempted to push Daryl Hall to the front with his first solo effort, Sacred Songs. However, after presented with Sacred Songs, RCA became unwilling to publish the record. Instead, it was produced by Robert Fripp and finally released in 1980.

Voices (1980)

The 80s brought about change for Hall & Oates. They had determined that the biggest problem was that their music was being filtered through outsider producers and studio musicians who weren't 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. So, instead of recording in Los Angeles like they'd done previously, they decided to record at Electric Lady Studios in New York, just five minutes away from their apartments. They also began producing their own records and using their touring band in the studio. The result was a clearer style and a better sound, and beginning with the Voices LP in 1980, Hall & Oates had found the missing link in their formula for hits. The first two singles from the album, "How Does It Feel to be Back" and a cover of the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (both of which featured lead vocals by John) missed the top ten, but the third single, "Kiss on My List," hit number one in April 1981 and remained there for three weeks. The follow-up single, "You Make My Dreams," reached number five in July of that year.

Private Eyes (1981)

By the time "You Make My Dreams" was falling down the charts, Hall & 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 already had most of their material laid down and felt no need to repeat the old formula from that LP. Instead, they produced one of the great albums of the 1980s, the first Hall & Oates album to reach the top ten on the Billboard album charts. The four singles from Private Eyes all reached the top 40. The title track and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" were consecutive number one hits, with the latter song hitting the top spot on the R&B and the pop charts (one of the few songs by a white act ever to do so). "Did It in a Minute" reached #9 in the Spring of 1982, and "Your Imagination" peaked at #33.

H2O (1982)

Next came the H2O album, Hall & Oates' biggest success. Not considered one of their best albums today, H2O hit #3 on the album charts and spawned three top-10 singles. "Maneater," the biggest hit of their career, reached the number-one spot on December 18, 1982 and stayed there for four weeks. The ballad "One on One" and a cover of Mike Oldfield's song "Family Man" reached #7 and #6 in March and June of 1983, respectively.

Rock N' Soul (1983)

By the fall of 1983, Hall & Oates were one of the biggest pop music acts in America. They had five #1 singles to their credit, two consecutive top-10 albums, and were one of the biggest names on MTV. The constant loop of recording, promoting, and touring wore them down, though, and in 1983 they could only put out a greatest-hits pacakge, Rock N Soul Volume 1. The album peaked at #7 (not bad for a greatest hits collection) and the two new songs on the LP both became top-10 hits as well. The lead-off single for the Greatest Hits album battled with a six week #1 spot from Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson at the high-point of the Thriller hysteria. "Say It Isn't So" remained at #2 for an impressive four weeks from December 1983 to January 1984. "Adult Education" hit #8 in April 1984. In that month, the Recording Industry Association of America issued a report declaring Hall & Oates as the most successful duo in the history of recorded music.

Big Bam Boom (1984)

Hall & Oates returned to the studio in 1984 after some time off to begin work on the Big Bam Boom LP in 1984. Unlike their previous work, this album had a more urban feel to it. The lead-off song, "Dance on Your Knees," is basically an homage to the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's song "White Lines." Hall himself even performs some light rapping on the songs "Method of Modern Love" and "All-American Girl." Released in late 1984, the first single off the LP, "Out of Touch," became the groups sixth #1 hit on December 8, 1984. "Method of Modern Love," which debuted on the pop charts while "Out of Touch" was at #1, reached #5 in February 1985. The dark ballad "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" and the upbeat "Possession Obsession" reached the top 30 in 1985, as well. Hall & Oates had a big year in 1985, performing with USA For Africa in the song "We Are the World" and at the Live Aid concert. They capped things off with a performance in front of the Statue of Liberty on July 4 and at the re-opening of the Apollo Theater in New York City.

Live At The Apollo! (1985)

Hall & Oates have almost always toured extensively. However, this practice came to an end with the release of Daryl Hall and John Oates Live At The Apollo! with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick. This was RCA's second attempt at a live album, following a 1983 release. However, this disc was very short and covered less than half of the live performance. It was released primarily to fulfill the duo's contract with RCA, and contained a top-20 hit with a medley of "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and "My Girl."

Daryl Hall's solo album (1986)

Hall & Oates went on a break after the 1985 tour. Daryl Hall was influenced to go to England and check out Dave Stewart. The resulting solo Daryl Hall album was Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine. It included a #5 hit "Dreamtime" and a Top 40 hit with "Foolish Pride." It also contained perhaps a hint of Daryl's future solo projects, with the song "Someone Like You." Despite Stewart's co-production and guest background vocals from Joni Mitchell and Bob Geldof, RCA considered this album a commercial disappointment. It should be noted, however, that RCA did not promote this album at the level of the Hall & Oates' previous albums, which upset Daryl for years afterward. This was also the last album in the RCA deal with Hall and Oates.

The Arista Years (1988-1990)

Hall and Oates signed with Arista Records in 1988. Their first album for the label, Ooh Yeah!, included the hits "Everything Your Heart Desires" (#3 hit in May 1988 - their last to make the top 10), "Missed Opportunity," and "Downtown Life." This may have been the last Hall and Oates album - other than greatest hits packages - that enjoyed platinum success. Hall and Oates did one more album for Arista called Change Of Season. The album's first single, "So Close" (co-produced by Jon Bon Jovi) hit #11 on the pop charts and was Hall & Oates' last major hit. Another song off the album, "Don't Hold Back Your Love," has become a Hall & Oates staple. Change of Season was a more mainstream-rock album than their previous work. Neither of these two albums attained much critical or commercial success when they were initially released, and some may even consider this period to be their least productive.

Later Work

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.

Daryl Hall and John Oates put out the Do It For Love album in 2003. That included "Do It For Love" (a #1 Adult Contemporary hit). They have also released the Hall and Oates Live DVD from an A&E Live By Request Special.

Daryl Hall has also released a fourth solo album called Can't Stop Dreaming and fifth Live In Philadelphia compilation.

Hall and Oates have also put out their first CD of covers, Our Kind Of Soul, in 2004. It includes some of their favorite R&B songs, such as "I'll Be Around" "Love TKO," "I Can Dream About You," and more. Hall and Oates are still on the touring circuit, traveling as much as they did several years ago.

Also in 2004, a dance act called Uniting Nations sampled Hall & Oates hit "Out Of Touch". The song, also called "Out Of Touch", achieved success across Europe and had a long UK chart run which spanned over several months.

Discography

External links

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