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

If I had a ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

From CNN: “Grunge groundbreakers Nirvana, disco dynamos Chic and the costume-clad, Gene Simmons-led pop metal band KISS are among 16 nominees up for election in the museum’s Class of 2014. The deep selection also includes ’70s and ’80s hitmakers Hall and Oates; college radio heroes the Replacements; New Orleans funkmeisters the Meters; sweet-voiced Linda Ronstadt; and pioneering gangsta rappers N.W.A.

“Completing the list: the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes and the Zombies.”

CBS News adds: “Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, and The Replacements are among first-time nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

All eligible nominees released their first single or album at least 25 years before the year of nomination.

Fans can vote for up to five artists at rockhall.com and www.rollingstone.com and www.usatoday.com.

I’ve already made it clear that I would vote for Linda Ronstadt. Beyond that, there are probably seven artists for the other four slots. Pretty much a coin flip, my ballot would include:
Chic, which is newly chic, its sound still relevant.
Peter Gabriel, who was not only commercially successful in the 1980s, but put out great albums before that; if for the song Biko alone, which codified understanding of apartheid to the western world, he’d be deserving. I have a LOT of PG.
Hall & Oates, who not only had massive commercial success over a lengthy period – I am an unapologetic fan – but also are great proponents of music to this day. And though it ought not to matter in this context, I really love Daryl Hall’s solo album Sacred Songs.
Yes, in part as a paean to progressive rock, in hopes that King Crimson gets a nod next time out.

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

The Meters, which helped beget The Neville Brothers, was essentially the house band for Allen Toussaint and played on a lot of other people’s albums, so I’m hoping that they’ll get picked in the sidemen category, as Leon Russell did a couple of years ago.

My other pick in these fan ballots was Butterfield, whose three Bs (Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop) were also individually important in rock

Not picking Nirvana, on their first ballot, who will get in anyway. I like them well enough; have three or four of their albums and their sound defined the early 1990s.
Hope the Replacements get in someday – it was their first year as well.
I had quite a bit of Cat Stevens in the day, and I’d pick him if there weren’t people I preferred.
Have the greatest hits of the Zombies, and I’m just not sure a few hits plus one great album warrants the band’s inclusion.
I know N.W.A. is massively influential, despite its limited output, but not feeling it yet.
Never cared for KISS.
Loved the hits of Deep Purple, but guess I don’t know the oeuvre well enough to decide if they merit inclusion.
Know LL Cool J better as an actor than a musician.

Which five artists would YOU vote for?

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