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Artist of the Month: Hall & Oates

April 1, 2019

With their first UK shows in five long years kicking off in just a few weeks time, Daryl Hall and John Oates are our Artists of the Month for April.

You might think you know Hall & Oates but there is so much more to this enduring duo than meets the eye. Truly, if ever there was a back catalogue ripe for re-investigation and re-appraisal by long-term observers and newcomers alike, then look no further than this wealth of material that’s dominated the charts the world over and inspired subsequent generations of musicians.

You see, what we have here is not simply high quality pop music with more hooks than a fisherman’s tacklebox, but also a pair of top-flight artists with an ear for the past, present and future.

Part of the reason for their success is that both Daryl Hall and John Oakes were, right from the very beginning of the career, plugged directly into the source. Before hooking up, Daryl Hall worked in the 60s as both a singer and session musician for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the duo widely credited for creating the Philly soul sound of the 70s. Guitarist John Oates had spent his formative years playing with soul bands. And when the pair met at the tail end of the 60s, their shared love of soul found them working together to build on their influences.

The early years found the duo incorporating elements of folk, rock and pop into their soul stew, but it wasn’t until their fourth album, 1975’s ‘Daryl Hall & John Oates’, that the pair hit their stride. Featuring the US hit, ‘Sara Smile’, Hall & Oates began to reach out to a wider audience. And, as the decade progressed, their music became increasingly more daring and adventurous as they took on board rock sounds, while Daryl Hall found time to record his under-rated solo album, ‘Sacred Songs’, with King Crimson guitarist and David Bowie collaborator Robert Fripp.

All of these external influences would come together on the trio of albums that Hall & Oates would release between 1980 and 1983: ‘Voices’, ‘Private Eyes’ and ‘H2O’. Spawning the planet-straddling hits ‘Kiss On My Lips’, ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’, ‘Maneater’ and a surprising yet effective cover of Mike Oldfield’s ‘Family Man’, Hall & Oates became a global success that helped define the sound of the 80s. Indeed, so huge were Hall & Oates that they were declared the most successful duo of all time, eclipsing even the likes of Simon & Garfunkel.

Their mark on the 80s went even further when Paul Young scored a massive hit with their song, ‘Everytime You Go Away’, while players from the emerging hip-hop scene sampled the duo. And those covers and collaborations continue to this day with the likes of Rumer and Chromeo making hay from this incredible back catalogue.

As evidenced by Hall & Oates’ upcoming UK arena tour, the popularity of this incredibly successful and influential duo shows absolutely no signs of abating. And it’s little wonder, really. Music that makes this kind of genuine impact is few and far between, so whether you’re saying ‘hello’ to them once again or for the first time, be safe in the knowledge that their excellence continues to span the decades the same as it ever has.

Check availability and buy tickets at hallandoates.com/tour

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