Like 60s predecessors the Righteous Brothers (and their inferior 90s successor Michael Bolton), Hall And Oates decade-spanning string of hit singles was proof of the perennial appeal of white soul singing. The duo achieved their success through the slick combination of Halls falsetto and Oates warm baritone. A student at Temple University, Daryl Hall (Daryl Franklin Hohl, 11 October 1949, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA) sang lead with the Temptones and recorded a single produced by Kenny Gamble in 1966. He first met John Oates (b. 7 April 1949, New York City, New York, USA), a former member of Philadelphia soul band the Masters, in 1967. After briefly performing together, the duo went their separate ways. Hall subsequently made solo records and formed soft rock band Gulliver with Tim Moore, recording one album in 1969. Hall and Oates were reunited the same year, and the two men began to perform around Philadelphia and write acoustic-leaning songs together. They were discovered by Tommy Mottola, then a local representative of Chappell Music. He became their manager and negotiated a recording contract with Atlantic Records. Their three albums for the label had star producers (Arif Mardin on Whole Oats and Todd Rundgren for War Babies) but sold few copies. However, Abandoned Luncheonette included the first version of one of Hall And Oates many classic soul ballads, Shes Gone.
The duo came to national prominence with the million-selling Sara Smile, their first single for RCA Records. It was followed into the US Top 10 by a re-released Shes Gone and the sublime Rich Girl, which reached US number 1 in 1977. However, they failed to capitalize on this success, dabbling unimpressively in the then fashionable disco style on X-Static. The turning point came with the Hall And Oates-produced Voices. The album spawned four hit singles, notably a remake of the Righteous Brothers Youve Lost That Lovin Feelin, You Make My Dreams, and the US chart-topper Kiss On My List. It also included the haunting Every Time You Go Away, a big hit for English singer Paul Young in 1985. For the next five years the pair could do no wrong, as hit followed hit. These included four US chart-toppers, the pounding Private Eyes, I Cant Go For That (No Can Do), Maneater (their biggest UK hit at number 6) and Out Of Touch (co-produced by Arthur Baker), in addition to the Top 10 hits Did It In A Minute, One On One, Family Man (a Mike Oldfield composition), Say It Isnt So, Adult Education, and Method Of Modern Love. OnLive At The Apollo the duo was joined by Temptations members Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin. This was the prelude to a three-year hiatus in the partnership, during which time Hall recorded his second solo album with production by Dave Stewart and enjoyed a US Top 5 hit with Dreamtime. Reunited in 1988, Hall And Oates had another US Top 5 hit with Everything Your Heart Desires, released on their new label Arista Records. On the 1990 Top 20 hit So Close, producers Jon Bon Jovi and Danny Kortchmar added a strong rock flavour to their sound.
The duo did not record together again until 1997s Marigold Sky, by which time their brand of white soul was out of fashion in a music world dominated by urban music. Perseverance paid off and they released a fresh sounding collection, Do It For Love, in 2002, unquestionably one of the best albums of their career. Notable tracks were the title song and Man On A Mission, both top drawer Hall And Oates. A covers album of soul classics (Our Kind Of Soul) also highlighted their genuine commitment and passion for soul music. Their contribution to the cause is a significant one, and they remain the most successful rock/soul duo of all-time.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.