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May 25, 2017

Quintessential Philly act Hall & Oates headlines hometown show

Life for rock era's greatest duo is like being in the eye of a hurricane

Hall & Oates has been together for nearly a half century.

When Hall & Oates were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three years ago, Questlove beamed backstage. The Roots drummer couldn’t contain his enthusiasm when asked about inducting Hall & Oates. 

“I’m a Philadelphian and it’s an honor to induct one of the greatest acts of the rock era,” Questlove said. 

“Even though they have recorded one hit after another, they somehow don’t get the credit they deserve...Hall & Oates is Philadelphia.”

They somehow don’t get the credit they deserve...Hall & Oates is Philadelphia.”

Questlove is correct on all counts. Hall & Oates is Philadelphia. Yes, vocalist-keyboardist Daryl Hall is from Pottstown and vocalist-guitarist John Oates hails from North Wales, but the tandem became acquainted at Philly’s Adelphi Ballroom in 1967.

“When John and I met, we discovered that we had so much in common musically,” Oates said. “We had that connection.”

At that time, they led different groups, but three years later, Hall & Oates was born. There has never been a more successful duo in pop music. Hall & Oates have sold more than 40 million albums and have six hits, “Kiss on My List,” “Rich Girl,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do”),” “Maneater” and “Out of Touch,’ which topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

In total, they had a staggering 34 chart hits on the US Billboard Hot 100, seven platinum albums and six gold albums.

It’s difficult to understand why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame took so long to open its door for Hall & Oates. 

Related: Weekend Music Picks: Rick Ross, Hall & Oates and more

“We had hits, but we weren’t the media’s cup of tea,” Hall said. “We didn’t follow any of the rules.”

During the ‘80s, Hall & Oates were without peer as a hit factory. 

“It was like living in a vacuum or in the eye of a hurricane,” Hall said. 

“You live in a bubble. You’re perceived as an object. It’s disconcerting since you lack a human factor. You’re judged by how many hits you have, which is ridiculous.”

When grunge popped the hair-metal bubble in 1991, there was also some collateral damage. Hall & Oates kept a lower profile during the Clinton era. 

“It was a strange, funny period,” Hall said. 

“The machine was still in place, but the record industry was running out of steam. It was a time of ponderous, overblown music. I went to London and immersed myself in their street movement. Lots of Philly-style funk and R&B.”

But the following decade, Hall & Oates made a comeback. One of the most talked about scenes from the 2009 film “500 Days of Summer” was when Joseph Gordon-Levitt danced in the streets to Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams.”

“I thought it was great,” Hall said. “I saw it and people were dancing in the movie theaters,” Hall said. 

“That’s unprecedented, as far as I know.”

When Hall and Oates takes a break, Hall focuses on “Live From Daryl’s House,” an online series, which features Hall with musical guests at his New York home. Hall also restores historic homes in New England.

“I’ve led a full life,” Hall said. “I don’t have any regrets.”

And Hall & Oates will headline a Philly-centric concert slated for Saturday, May 27, at Festival Pier. Marah, G. Love and Special Sauce, Vivian Green, Son Little, Mutlu and Schooly D are among those from Philadelphia on the bill.

“There is no city like Philadelphia,” Hall said. “We’re proud to be from Philly.”

For more information on Saturday's show, click here