Hall & Oates

Hall & Oates

Synopsis of Pop Music

"Because your kiss, your kiss, is on my list…"

For better or worse, fate sometimes strikes in freight elevators. In 1967 Philadelphia, elevator fate struck for the better when Daryl Hall and John Oates were whisked away from a dance hall melee and met for the very first time. It’s an apt metaphor, too—they rode that elevator right to the top of the charts.

The two had a lot in common: Both were Temple University students and both were involved in the local Philly music scene. Hall had recorded a single with Kenny Gamble and the Romeos, and Oates headlined his own soul band. They performed together in an assortment of doo-wop line-ups, then went their separate ways—Hall to the soft rock band Gulliver and Oates to another college. But when Oates came back to Philly in 1969, he and his old elevator friend picked up where they left off.

In 1972, the duo was discovered by manager Tommy Mottola and signed to Atlantic, releasing the debut album Whole Oates that same year. Abandoned Luncheonette and War Babies followed, the latter produced by Todd Rundgren and infused with a rock sound that was new for them. In 1976, they relocated to the Big Apple, then to the RCA label, and then to the land of hits, thanks to their “Sara Smile” single. Their next single, “Rich Girl” from Bigger Than the Both of Us, went to #1. Though notorious serial killer David Berkowitz claimed this song as his inspiration, their reputation as a cheerful r&b-tinged pop outfit remained intact. Proof of that came in ’78, when a leg of their concerts was sponsored by Care-Free gum—the duo making special appearances at the schools that had collected the most wrappers.

Though minor hits certainly prevailed in the late 70’s, the 1980 release of Voices, which Hall and Oates produced themselves, marked the beginning of the long list of hits that were a’ coming: the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Kiss On My List,” “You Make My Dreams” and “Every Time You Go Away” (covered later by Paul Young) all came from this first effort. Then, from their Private Eyes record came the same-named single and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” which in addition to its mainstream success, also spent a week at the top of the r&b chart.

Following their 1984 Big Bam Boom and the gold record release of Live at the Apollo, the duo went on hiatus and pursued solo projects. That same year, they became the most chart-topping duo in history, surpassing even the Everly Brothers. They reunited in 1988 to release Ooh Yeah!, which went platinum, and you never know when they might strike again. A duo that rides elevators together stays together. Everybody knows that.

Artist Release History

1972 - Whole Oats
1973 - Abandoned Luncheonette
1974 - War Babies
1976 - Bigger Than Both of Us
1977 - No Goodbyes
1977 - Beauty on a Back Street
1978 - Along the Red Ledge
1980 - Voices
1981 - Private Eyes
1982 - H2O
1983 - Greatest Hits: Rock N' Soul, Part I
1984 - Big Bam Boom
1985 - Live at the Apollo
1988 - Ooh Yeah!
1990 - Change of Season
1992 - Soulful Sounds
1993 - Really Smokin'
1996 - The Atlantic Collection
1997 - Marigold Sky
1998 - Back to Back
1999 - Hall & Oates

Pop Sub Categories


Essential Music Albums

Atlantic Collection (Rhino)

Band Members

Darryl Hall vocals, guitar
John Oates vocals, guitar

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