By Matthew Sotlar
The worst has come to pass; Daryl Hall is suing John Oates. I know, a world of constant turmoil; what does a catty dispute between two washed-up 70s pop stars have to do with anything? Let’s first take a look at their humble beginnings.
Hall first teamed up with Oates when they were youngsters in Philadelphia. Their debut album, “Whole Oats” — which I find quite humorous — was released in 1972 with poor sales. Their follow-up album, “Abandoned Luncheonette,” landed in the Top 30 of the Billboard 200 Albums list the following year. From there, the rest is history.
The duo’s first hit was “Sara Smile,” a smooth, soulful ballad written for Hall’s girlfriend, Sara Allen. It peaked in the top 10 in 1976, kickstarting a trend of hits the duo replicated over 20 times throughout the 70s and 80s.
Hall and Oates secured six No. 1 hits, including “Rich Girl,” “Maneater,” “Out of Touch” and “Private Eyes,” over the course of 7 years. They were an unstoppable, hit-making machine — until recently.
With 18 studio albums and eight platinum records, Hall and Oates may be synonymous with 80s music. According to my Apple Music Replay, I listened to 30 hours worth of their music this year. I’ve got to get those numbers up.
With all of their success, Hall and Oates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, far later than they deserved.
In early November, Hall filed a lawsuit against Oates, followed by a restraining order. This shocked me, and I had to know why these brothers were dueling it out, legally, so to speak.
In October 2021, Hall and Oates agreed not to sell their shares of music, which is represented by — and I’m being completely serious — Whole Oats Enterprises. Fast forward two years, and now Oates is interested in selling his shares to Primary Wave Music. Hall just can’t go for that.
On Nov. 9, Hall filed a lawsuit against Oates for breaching their agreement. Oates kept on trucking, and six days later, Hall filed a temporary restraining order to prevent the sale altogether. It’s not known how much Oates will profit from the sale, but we can assume he won’t need to rely on the old man’s money.
Neither Hall nor Oates have commented on the issue. The restraining order was set to expire Nov. 30, so hopefully, nobody will be out of touch or time then, and they can resolve their problems peacefully.
But how do the boys feel about each other? Hall has called Oates his “business partner” but not his “creative partner,” in spite of the 18 albums they recorded together and their over 50-year partnership. Oates was more blunt about it, saying it was a “miracle” he and Hall were friends.
Every great friendship has its peaks and valleys, and Hall and Oates seem deep in a valley. I want to make it to at least one of their concerts in my life, but the way things are looking, they won’t make my dreams come true.