Hall for the Hall. Hall and Oates, that is, should be voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates was strongly connected to the Philadelphia Sound, blue-eyed soul, rock and roll, pop, and new wave. Put it all together and it was labeled “rock and soul,” a blend that took them on a musical journey that allowed them to dominate the pop charts from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. By 1984, “Billboard,” “Newsweek,” and the Recording Industry Association of America had all proclaimed them the most successful duo in the history of recorded music, surpassing the Everly Brothers. In addition to being the number one duo, they were ranked number 15 by “Billboard” on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time, released in 2008.
That’s pretty distinguished company, but their record of achievement backs it up. According to “The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits,” Hall and Oates placed six number one songs, 16 top 10 hits and 29 top 40 hits on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart between 1976 and 1990.
When people first heard their first two top ten entries, “Sara Smile” and “She’s Gone,” many thought they were a black group. Though they didn’t record for Motown Records, they were strongly influenced by Motown groups and eventually collaborated with former Temptations David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks , appearing with them at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem in the mid-1980s and releasing a “Live At The Apollo” album.
One of their number one songs, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” bridged the early 1980s gap between black and white music. It was one of the few songs at the time that reached number one on the pop and R & B charts. Networks like MTV had segregated music and Hall and Oates helped to reintegrate music to the way it was in the late 1950s and 1960s, when, for example, the Beatles and Supremes were played on the same stations, often back-to-back.
“If we have a crusade, it’s bridging that gap, moving away from black/white polarization and getting music back to the sensibilities of the late ’50 and early ’60s,” John Oates said in a “Hall and Oates” biography, as reported by “Billboard.”
Hall and Oates helped to spawn the Urban Contemporary radio format that further broke down artificial racial barriers.
When a group was as successful as Hall and Oates and made the socially important contributions the duo made, then the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would certainly do itself a favor and elect Hall and Oates to the Hall.
“The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, 5th Edition,” Fred Bronson, Billboard Books, 2003
“The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 9th Edition,” Joel Whitburn, Billboard Books, 2010