Daryl Hall And John Oates – The Music Continues!
Getting ready for the postponed concert by dipping into the back catalogue of a great singing duo – in fact, the best-selling duo in music history!
H & O have sold more than 40-million albums, and have six #1 hits – part of the 30+ singles that landed on the Billboard “Top 100” chart so far in their career.
I wanted to look at their music through a slightly different filter – by sharing the first song on five different albums from their career…each offered some insight into the style and tone of the boys at the time…so let’s get started!
1 – “When The Morning Comes” from “Abandoned Luncheonette”.
In 1973, Daryl Hall and John Oates released their second album, “Abandoned Luncheonette.” As John said:
“Recording that album was where we learned how songs become records. Our producer, the legendary Arif Mardin carefully crafted each song, every bit of nuance, bringing in the perfect players for the right moments. And it all worked together as one beautiful musical tapestry.”
The album is full of great songs, starting with the very first track…
“When The Morning Comes” was written by Daryl Hall, and it’s an upbeat, breezy folk/pop song that immediately gave listeners an idea of how great the duo sounded together…here is a live performance of the song:
“She’s Gone” – Comeback Of The Year (3 To Be Exact!)
Daryl and John’s second album was a big hit, thanks to the iconic “She’s Gone” – but ready for this trivia? That song wasn’t a hit when first released – it finally broke big 3 years later when it was re-released – and went to #7 on the charts!
I love their harmonies, which are front and center on this opening track:
2 – “Back Together Again” from the album “Bigger Than Both Of Us!”
Their fifth album from 1976 also included their first #1 hit single!
“Bigger Than Both Of Us” has a couple of great album tracks: “Kerry” and “London, Luck & Love”, but the album gets off to a great start with the song “Back Together Again”, written by Joan Oates.
Here is a great “Top Pop” studio performance from the time – seems lip-synched but either way they look great:
The Boys Go To The Top Of The Charts!
Daryl Hall and John Oates had their first #1 hit single from the album: “Rich Girl” – which is still one of their most iconic hits – and the album also included the great song “Do What You Want, Be What You Are”.
Time now for a more controversial choice – a song I love that H&O don’t!
4 – “Don’t Change” from “Beauty On A Back Street”
This 1977 album was the duo’s sixth studio release, and it didn’t sell well at all – intact, it had no hit singles at all!
According to wikipedia, both Daryl Hall AND John Oates claim to hate this album, and their compilation box sets do not include any songs from this album at all – which is too bad, because I like the opening track “Don’t Change” a lot!
Perhaps the album’s poor sales – and the alleged H&O hatred – is why I was unable to find any live recordings of the opening track, so here is the album track (audio only) for “Don’t Change”:
It’s a beautiful song that perhaps is marred by an overly aggressive guitar, that adds an unnecessary edge to it. In fact, the whole album has that problem, which could have been one reason for the poor showing.
“The Emptiness” and “Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts” were the closest thing to singles from he album, and the song “Bigger Than Both Of Us”, which was the name of their PREVIOUS album, is also on here…well, I really like this song even if they don’t!
Time to jump ahead – after this poor showing, Hall and Oates bounced back in a big big way in the 80’s, including this opening track that was one of their biggest hits:
4 – “Dance On Your Knees / Out Of Touch” from Big Bam Boom!
By the mid-80’s, Hall & Oates had a string of hits like “Kiss On My List”, “Private Eyes” and “Maneater” – they were on a creative roll when 1984’s “Big Bam Boom” released, with the leadoff track hitting #1 on the charts:
I love it because it’s attached to a funky groove called “Dance On Your Knees”…most of which was incorporated into the music video, which you can see here:
“Method Of Modern Love”, “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” and “Possession Obsession” are also on this album…another huge hit for the boys…
By the end of the decade, the hits were still coming, while the songwriting style was becoming more nuanced and reflective…
“There’s a restless look in your eye tonight…”
5- “So Close” From “Change Of Season”
Those lyrics are from “So Close”, the first track from their 14th studio album, 1990’s “Change Of Season”…a song that was so good it’s on the album twice!
“So Close” was written by Daryl Hall and George Green, with additional music by Jon Bon Jovi and Danny Kortchmar. It sounds a lot like the first song I highlighted, a real “Abandoned Luncheonette” vibe…
The song actually closes out the album as well, with a much more acoustic version at the end – so their terrific music video combines them both to incredible effect…beginning with the slower version, then kicking into the faster-paced hit single – here it is:
FYI, the title track “Change of Season” is also a great song and was written by John Oates and Bobby Mayo…
There you have it – 5 great songs to kick off 5 great Daryl Hall and John Oates albums.
One other great album opener is the funky “Downtown Life” from “ooh Yeah!”
I’m still amazed that “Downtown Life” wasn’t a big hit – but it’s a great album track! Here are more of my favorite album tracks from Daryl Hall & John Oates:
Let me know your favorite H&O Songs!