Daryl Hall Feels Liberated by John Oates Rift

Daryl Hall Feels Liberated by John Oates Rift

Daryl Hall, one half of the iconic pop-rock duo Hall & Oates, is embracing a newfound sense of freedom following a public and contentious rift with his longtime musical partner, John Oates. The duo, known for their string of hits in the ’70s and ’80s, has officially parted ways, and Hall is seizing the opportunity to focus on his solo career.

In a candid interview with Billboard, Hall revealed that the creative partnership between him and Oates had been dormant for decades. “John and I did not have a creative relationship for decades; the last song I wrote with John was in 2000, and that was with somebody else,” Hall explained. “We toured and we toured and we toured, and it was very restrictive to me, and to John. The real truth of it all is John just said one day he didn’t want to do it anymore. I said ‘OK,’ but the problem is [Oates] didn’t make the parting and breakup easy, and that’s where the difficulties lay and still lay, and that’s all it is.”

The duo’s split became public knowledge last November when Hall filed a lawsuit against Oates, seeking to block him from selling his share in their joint venture to Primary Wave Music. Hall claimed that Oates’ actions violated their business agreement and described them as the “ultimate business betrayal.” Oates, on the other hand, expressed that he was “deeply hurt” by Hall’s accusations.

Despite the legal and personal turmoil, Hall is finding solace in his solo career. He recently released a new solo album titled “D,” his first since 2011’s “Laughing Down Crying.” Hall told Billboard that he has always considered himself a solo artist, even while working with Oates. “I always say I’ve been a solo artist my whole life, I was just working with John, mostly,” he said.

Hall feels liberated by the split, as it allows him to focus on his entire catalog of music. “I can’t speak for John ’cause I haven’t spoken to him in a long, long time, but I think that’s how he feels, too,” Hall said. “And good on both of us. I can still play all the songs that I wrote over the years, under my own name as well as under the Hall & Oates name. It frees me, really. It frees me up.”

The history of Hall & Oates is a storied one. The duo met in 1967 and went on to become the best-selling duo in American pop history, releasing 21 albums and selling over 80 million copies. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Despite their success, the partnership was not without its challenges.

In recent years, Hall has been vocal about the difficulties of being in a duo. In a 2022 interview with the Los Angeles Times, he described the experience as “f—ked up,” citing the constant comparisons and the pressure of being seen as a unit rather than individuals. “I don’t like it,” he said. “John and I call our touring company ‘Two-Headed Monster,’ because it is that. It’s very annoying to be a duo, because people always say, ‘Oh, you’re the tall one, you’re the short one. You’re the one that sings, you’re the one that doesn’t sing.’ You’re always compared to the other person.”

Hall also made it clear that he did not view Oates as a creative equal. During an appearance on Bill Maher’s “Club Random” podcast, Hall stated, “You think John Oates is my partner? He’s my business partner. He’s not my creative partner. John and I are brothers, but we are not creative brothers. We are business partners. We made records called Hall & Oates together, but we’ve always been very separate, and that’s a really important thing for me.”

The legal battle between Hall and Oates has been intense. Hall’s lawsuit, filed in Nashville, Tennessee, seeks to prevent Oates from selling his share of their joint venture, Whole Oats Enterprises, to Primary Wave. Hall described Oates’ decision as a “clandestine” move that violated their business agreement. “This recent bad faith conduct by John Oates and the Oates Trust has created tremendous upheaval, harm, and difficulty in my life,” Hall wrote in a court filing.

Oates, in his own filing, expressed his disappointment and hurt over the situation. He accused Hall of being “unwilling to work with me to try to protect the marks and other intellectual property that we spent decades building.” Despite the bitterness, Oates did not rule out the possibility of working with Hall again in the future. “Never say never to anything,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

As Hall moves forward with his solo career, he is focused on his own artistic vision. “I’m more interested in pursuing my own world. And so is John,” he said. “That takes me back to what I was saying about duos. I had to say, ‘And so is John.’ I couldn’t just say what I think, I had to add what he thinks. That’s the f—ked up part of being a duo.”

For now, Hall is relishing his newfound freedom and the opportunity to explore his music on his own terms. The rift with Oates, while painful, has ultimately led to a sense of liberation for the veteran musician.

Source: Billboard, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly

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