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Hall & Oates


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Here's one with a distinct Eric connection: Hall & Oates, for whom Carmen opened during a mid-1970s tour. Love a lot of their singles, and drilled deep on some of their albums, including my favorites, 1973's Abandoned Luncheonette and 1980's breakthrough Voices. And, there are albums of theirs that I've barely heard (like, 1974's War Babies).

I should note, too, that I might rank Daryl Hall's obscure Sacred Songs over any of the duo's albums (or pretty close). It's from 1980, and was produced by Robert Fripp, and was a lot more ethereal and hypnotic than the pop material on H & O albums. And, I love watching Hall's jamming-at-home TV series, Live From Daryl's House.

All that said, here are my Top 10 Hall & Oates songs, with some extras tacked on.

1. She's Gone. Classic ‘70s ballad of love lost. Not many songs successfully work a toothbrush in the lyrics.
2. Everytime You Go Away. Another epic love-lost production, made famous by Paul Young. But I like the original better—dripping with soul and R&B touches. 
3. Sara Smile. Smooth soul-pop from early in their career. I didn't like it at first, as a high-schooler, but it grew on me.
4. How Does It Feel to Be Back. Spunky and fiesty pop with a killer hook and John Oates' best vocal. Love it. 
5. Had I Known You Better Then. A sweet and smooth ballad by John Oates from the Abandoned Luncheonette album. 
6. Rich Girl. She can rely on the old man's money....
7. One on One. From the H2O album, this one is smooth as silk. There's a great version by C-Lo Green with Hall performed on a Daryl's House show.
8. It's a Laugh. A great kiss-off from Hall... It's so stupid, I just gotta laugh. 
9. Italian Girls. Another John Oates song, this one also from H2O. Love the chorus.
10. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. Where they do justice (and then some) to an old Righteous Brothers hit.

On the outside looking in: 
• Maneater. Great description of a dangerous woman. (I wouldn't if I were you!)
• You Make My Dreams. Bouncy pop from the Voices album.
•  I'm Just a Kid (Don't Make Me Feel Like a Man. Another Abandoned Luncheonette track (Oates) with a cool groove. Worth checking out. 
• Say It Isn't So. Reminds me of "I Can't Go for That," but it's better.
• I Can't Go for That. Reminds me of "Say It Isn't So," but not quite as good. 🙂

Honorable-mention covers: 
• You Are Everything. Nice job on the old Stylistics hit.
• Without You. Yes, THAT "Without You." It doesn't measure up to The Big 3—Badfinger, Nilsson, Mariah—but it's a nice and soulful rendition, from 2018.

And, because I know most haven't heard this, here's a quick listen to my No. 5, Had I Known You Better Then: 


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Big Hall & Oates fan....but I'm ashamed to say that I haven't explored solo material, other than "Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine" from 1986. Before I actually set off to do my ranking, my first thought is that I'm going to have a fair amount of later stuff on my list. I think their albums remained very solid after their popularity waned. My Hall & Oates playlist contains many songs from "Change Of Season". "Marigold Sky" & "Do It For Love". (my playlist has 86 songs in it plus 3 more from Hall's solo album mentioned earlier) I'm looking forward to do this ranking.

There's NO WAY I can stop at Top 10....I'm thinking at least 20

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Love most of the Hall and Oates Singles, (Private Eyes being numero uno), but never delved too much into their lps...I am sure I am missing a lot of good stuff...They remind me a bit of the Grass Roots or Three Dog Night, not in a stylistic sense, but all three of them were singles machines whose lps did not garner much traction with consumers...Hall and Oates, 10 to 15 years from now, will be the headliners on those packaged oldies tour, similar to Peter Noone, on the 60’s Circuit and the Grass Roots on the 70’s shows...

P.S...Eric would fit in on those packaged tours perfectly...

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Well.....I felt comfortable stopping at 25, though I do have honorable mentions. Lew mentions Private Eyes as his favorite. I like it too, but it didn't quite make my top 25. You can obviously see how much I like the later albums since 10 of my selections come after their last Top 40 hit. 

1. She's Gone (Single Version - Rock n Soul Pt. 1)
2. Wait For Me (X-Static)
3. Rich Girl (Bigger Than Both Of Us)
4. Promise Ain't Enough (Marigold Sky)
5. Forever For You (Do It For Love)
6. Throw The Roses Away (Marigold Sky)
7. Sarah Smile (Daryl Hall & John Oates)
8. One On One (H2O)
9. So Close (Change Of Season)
10. It's A Laugh (Along The Red Ledge)
11. Heartbreak Time (Do It For Love)
12. Back Together Again (Bigger Than Both Of Us)
13. Do It For Love (Do It For Love)
14. Do What You Want, Be What You Are (Bigger Than Both Of Us)
15. Someday We'll Know (Do It For Love)
16. Out Of Touch (Big Bam Boom)
17. I Don't Want To Lose You (Along The Red Ledge)
18. Life's Too Short (Do It For Love)
19. Intuition (Do It For Love)
20. Say It Isn't So (Rock n Soul Pt. 1)
21. Everytime You Go Away (Voices)
22. You Make My Dreams (Voices)
23. Don't Hold Back Your Love (Change Of Season)
24. Out Of Touch (Big Bam Boom)
25. You've Lost That Lovin Feeling (Voices)

I think the two that are a little more out of the box than the others are "Do What You Want....." (which I think is SO soulful and bluesy, that it's not hard to make the expressions of feeling and pain on your own face while listening), and "Intuition" which I think is a somewhat odd but very catchy tune. 

Honorable Mention goes to - Private Eyes,  Give It Up (Old Habits), Had I Known You Better Then,  Kiss On My List, How Does It Feel To Be Back and Out Of The Blue

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1. It´s a Laugh
2. She´s Gone
3. The Emptyness.....Oates is pretty strong here, especially live.
4. Rich Girl
5. Sara Smile....some days could be #1, great bluesy but catchy song, their first hit
6. Do what you want, be what you are....one of the highlights live, powerful song.
7. Kiss on my list - really a high level classic pop song, 
8. You´ve lost that lovin feeling....thought they nailed it, even much better than The Righteous Brothers´ version. Couldn´t get enough of this song back in the day.
9. Back together again - back in the day I really like this one, would have been higher on my list back then.
10. I´m just a kid, don´t make me feel like a man 

Vinnie´s video of Todd R and Darryl doing "I saw the light" has been one of my favorite videos since I first saw it.

LC, I too was bored by "Sara Smile" when it was on the radio. But soon after, it grew fast on me. It´s a great song. Great minds, again!

Their 80s music was not bad, even kinda good, to me. But it became very different than the 70s releases and sound, and wasn´t what I had like about Hall & Oates. 

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Wow—there's more love for Hall & Oates than I expected. 

James, great list... "Do What You Want" was in my Honorable Mentions, but I inexplicably cut it in moving things around. I'm restoring it.

Vinnie, "Family Man" should also be on my list, so I'm revising. And "Dreamtime" is a great song, but I wasn't including solo numbers. If I were, I'd have to stretch my list to include "Dreamtime" and—even higher—four songs from his first solo album, Sacred Songs:
• Survive — Maybe the best song he's written, "Survive" starts as a mid-tempo ballad that always reminded me of—are you ready?—Fresh-era Raspberries. Then it takes you through a surprising musical change at the bridge that reminds me of Starting Over-era Raspberries. If I merge my H&O and solo lists, "Survive" ends up at No. 1 or No. 2, depending on my mood. Seriously. 
• Why Was It So Easy. I think you'd all dig this one, but it's one of those songs that develops slowly. If you're patent , it pays off with a cool chorus. The Fripp influence is big on this one and the next....
• Without Tears. A heartbreak ballad that closes the album. "If there's one thing I've learned through the years/It's how to pour my heart out without tears."
• Don't Leave Me Alone with Her. Thematically, it's along the lines of "Maneater" and "I Can't Go For That"—like anyone, Daryl obviously has been mentally tortured by a woman or two. A spunky rock number.

Lew, I'm surprised at your No. 1—"Private Eyes." I didn't give it enough love so I'm pulling out that CD to re-review. Man, they had a lot of hits in the 1970s and '80s. 

Craig, interesting that my tastes for H&O lean toward early albums, yours toward later albums with their peak middle period being the common ground. I'm psyched about that,  because I see several songs on your list I'm going to check out, starting with "Promise Ain't Enough" above. (Good vid—love the look of the subject. Whew.) (Are we allowed to be that open anymore?)

Anyway, thanks for the tips, all.

Also, from your lists, I"m realizing that in making my list, I was being too dismissive of "Kiss on My List." Maybe I was feeling it was too saccharine, but hey, it's a great pop song... an uplifting number you just can't get out of your head. At the time (1980), H&O was sort of bubbling under, having enjoyed a few scattered hits in the 1970s, so, it was time to bust loose to the next level, and "Kiss on My List" was the vehicle that did it. So, I'm adding it to my Honorable Mentions. 


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Craig, your list draws from way more albums than mine. It would be interesting to see what you (and James, Lew, and Vin too) consider the five best H&O albums.... and maybe your "bottom-of-the-barrel" clunker. My song list probably gives my album preferences away:

1. Voices
2. Abandoned Luncheonette
3. H2O
4. Bigger Than Both of Us
5. Private Eyes

(And if counting solo, I'd have Sacred Songs at No. 2.)

Clunker: Ooh Yeah

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I don´t know their studio albums enough to rate them, so I´ll stay out here. P.S. I don´t know if there is a band out there that Craig doesn´t have every one of their albums!!....Craig is a music knowledge machine!!

PPS when I go into album buying mode again, I´m coming back to these top 10/20/etc threads. You guys have great taste in music, and a lot of knowledge. These threads are a goldmine to someone like me/us.


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There are a lot of very popular artists in which I own very little of their material. But when I do discover that I consistently like what I've heard from an artist/group, I tend to go all in. There are also quite a few artists in which I might own their Greatest Hits, and that's all.  I think it might appear that I own the whole universe of materials because our group here has somewhat similar tastes. If I was on a board where the members were into R.E.M., The Police, or The Cure, my input would be based on my Greatest Hits that I might have. I do also like a lot of 50's and 60's music, though I rarely own albums from those periods (mainly because albums weren't very good in the 50's). I those cases, I collect those artists singles or discovers single buried treasures. Bottom line....I love music, and l enjoy listening to it.

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  • 6 months later...

I was never a huge Styx fan, but after seeing Tommy Shaw on Live From Daryl's House, I've gotta say: he's good! I didn't realize he was such an engaging talent—good guitarist, surprisingly good vocalist... and, it turns out, good writer, too. He penned a couple of Styx songs that seem to have aged the best: "Renegade" and "Blue Collar Man." 

Up until I saw this episode, I admit I didn't know much about him—might not have been able to pick him out of a lineup. Now I wanna listen to more of his old work. He was clearly having a riot with Hall's band—they got into a good groove. Take a look: 


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A more recent video of Daryl with Joe  Walsh that I have always really liked a lot. I had always enjoyed Hall and Oates back in the day, but I gained a new respect and admiration for Daryl Hall after I got hooked on his cable tv show, "Live From Daryl's House". There were some truly great episodes with talented guest artists that you can watch on youtube.


Live From Daryl's House - Wrong Side of History - - Bing video

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