Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates turns 70

She’s Gone by Hall and Oates was the last song played

hall-and-oates-voicesA sea change seems to have taken place regarding Daryl Hall and John Oates. Once scorned as too commercial – they WERE the most commercially successful duo ever – they were FINALLY nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and were elected on their first, delayed shot.

I’ve had affection for Hall & Oates for a long while. I own a few of their early LPs, such as Abandoned Luncheonette and Voices. According to one of those VH1 “Where are they now” specials, which I saw a couple of years ago, some folks thought they were gay, based on the Voices cover. Though they were not, it was not something they rushed out to fix.

Listening to these again, I’m fascinated by how long it takes for the vocals to come up, a ’60s DJ’s dream. Good thing they came out later.

My favorite Daryl Hall songs, most, but not all, with John Oates, with links to all songs. Chart references are to Billboard.

16. Change of Season – title song from a 1990 H&O album, co-produced by Jon Bon Jovi and Danny Kortchmar, after H&O were cranking out the hits. The song is a bit Beatlesque. The album wasn’t a big hit, or particularly well received by the critics. But I have a great deal of affection.
15. Did It In A Minute from Private Eyes, #9 pop in 1982. This album generated a lot of hits.
14. So Close, the first song on Change of Season, #11 pop in 1990.
13. Say It Isn’t So from Rock ‘N’ Soul, Part 1, #2 for four weeks pop, #45 soul in 1982 – some artists put out greatest hits albums and the song is only on that album, initially. This is one of those.

12. Sacred Songs – the title song of that Daryl Hall solo album, for which I’ve spoken of my affection.
11. Out of Touch from Big Bam Boom, #1 for two weeks pop, #24 soul in 1984. I found it danceable.
10. Starting All Over Again from Change of Season. It reminded me of the old Philly sound of a decade or so earlier
9. Sara Smile, from Bigger Than Both of Us, #4 pop, #23 soul in 1976. Daryl Hall’s love song to his then-girlfriend and music collaborator Sara Allen

8. Kiss is on My List, from Voices, #1 pop for three weeks in 1980 – when I sing along with songs, it’s usually NOT the melody. In this case, it’s the “Because your kiss” part, which I love
7. NYCNY from Sacred Songs, Recorded in the summer of 1977 – the Summer of Sam, when I lived there – though the album was not released until 1979. This song SOUNDS like NYCNY of the time.
6. How Does It Feel To Be Back, from Voices, #30 in 1980 – when I first heard this song, that Tom Pettyish-guitar made it sound familiar, in a good way
5. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), from Private Eyes, #1 pop, and soul in 1982 – perfect ’80s pop song

4. Private Eyes, the title song, #1 for two weeks in 1981 – It’s the hand clapping. “Private Eyes” [clap] “are watching you” [clap, clap]. An oddly effective hook.
3. Something In 4/4 Time from Sacred Songs. I now believe this WAS released as a single – Daryl needs to find an a capella choir to record this, especially that instrumental break
2. She’s Gone from Abandoned Luncheonette, #60 in 1974, #7 pop, and #93 soul when it was reissued in 1976 – it’s the modulation at the end that seals it. Plus I told this story before, but it WAS 10 years ago: In the summer of 1977, I was living in NYC, specifically Jamaica, Queens, with my sister Leslie and her then-husband Eric. One day, they had the radio on, and one had to be the ninth caller “with the phrase that pays, ’99X is my radio station'” AND be able to identify the last song played. Well, I was the ninth caller, I said the phrase that paid, and I knew that She’s Gone by Hall and Oates was the last song played. I won twice my age, which meant $48, real money for an underemployed telephone solicitor (TV Guide, Encyclopedia Britannica). I had to spend SOME of it though, and that turned to be the ONLY time I’ve ever seen the New York Mets play in person. Don’t remember the game or even the score, but I remember the joy of being there with my sister. I also have an unusual affection for the song.
1. You Make My Dreams from Voices, #5 in 1981. Used effectively in the movie 500 Days of Summer

One more tune, by someone else: Everytime You Go Away by Paul Young, written by Daryl Hall, and #1 pop in 1985

Sacred Songs by Daryl Hall

There were two obvious candidates for a single from Sacred Songs, the first two songs on the album.

Recorded in 1977, released in 1980

My old blogging buddy Johnny Bacardi was on Facebook, and I could see that he was on Spotify, one of those online music channels. He was listening to a song called ‘North Star’ by Robert Fripp [LISTEN], a founder of my favorite “progressive rock” band, King Crimson. The vocal, though, was, unmistakably, by Daryl Hall of the very successful singing duo Hall & Oates.

This got me to wonder what the relationship was between that song and the Daryl Hall solo album Sacred Songs, produced by Fripp, an LP that I own and love.

Sacred Songs has a complicated history. From Wikipedia, and confirmed in the liner notes of the CD: “Sacred Songs was recorded in a rather short span of three weeks [in 1977]. Most of the songs were initially recorded with Hall singing and playing piano alongside Fripp’s guitar work, followed by overdubs by Hall & Oates’ regular touring band…

“Fripp and Hall gave the album to RCA officials. Though still relatively pop-oriented, Sacred Songs was very different from Hall & Oates, and fearing the album might be unsuccessful and alienate Hall’s mainstream fans, the company shelved the record, and release was postponed indefinitely.” This, of course, ticked them off greatly, and so they “passed tapes… to music journalists and disc jockeys” to pressure the label to release the album, which they finally did, a couple of years later.

Meanwhile, Fripp’s solo debut, Exposure, had a bunch of Hall vocals as well. “However due to pressure from RCA and Hall’s management, this was cut back to just two songs on the final release (‘You Burn Me Up I’m a Cigarette’ and [the aforementioned] ‘North Star’).” These two songs now appear on the CD version of the Sacred Songs album.

“Upon release, Sacred Songs sold fairly well, peaking at #58 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart; however, there was no hit single from the record. It has since come to be regarded as a high point in the careers of both Hall and Fripp.”

There were two obvious candidates for a single, the first two songs on the album, the title track, and Something in 4/4 Time [LISTEN]. When I got out this album, I loved it all over again. Oddly, I’ve recently had it stuck in my mind that some a capella group ought to cover 4/4 Time, complete with that Frippertronics in the bridge.

Listen to 30 seconds of each track of the original album HERE.
Watch the 62nd episode of Live from Daryl’s House, in which Daryl and the group Minus the Bear perform NYCNY from the Sacred Songs album.


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