On a cool rainy Fall day in late October of 1984, I was suffering from a minor sinus infection. I was bummed because it was the day of the last home football game of my senior year and wanted to go. But, because my girlfriend, who is now my wife, was attempting to get me to transition from an underachiever to something more meaningful, I did not go to the game. Instead, I reluctantly recopied my Immunology class notes, which for some reason was the only way I learned things. For some reason, I had been extra-lazy that week, skipping the recopying ritual all week long. I no longer was living in the dorm with all of the potential distractions and was living off-campus in a house with a group of guys who were all a little more focused than I was. Now, do not misconstrue this statement, but I never really found college too challenging academically. And, that drove my friends crazy, because I was ALWAYS ready to do something, nee anything.
That day, instead of studying at my house, I drove over to my wife’s house, with whom she shared with five other women. Now, when you throw a hyperactive, hormone-driven 21-year-old male into a hen house of estrogen, well, he goes crazy. So, needless to say, I was driving everyone crazy, attempting to weave my tired sophomoric sense of humor with these attractive young ladies and their boyfriends. Finally, around two in the afternoon, my wife had enough of my random acts of stupidity, so she took me to Target to get some Tylenol and cold medicine for me (apparently an attempt to calm me down).
At the time, I was obsessed with two songs: Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Out of Touch” by Daryl Hall & John Oates. Ironically, those songs ended up being back-to-back number one songs the following month, but I digress. While walking through the store, I quickly picked up the meds I needed, then I shot over to the records. I noticed that Hall & Oates’ new album, Big Bam Boom, had been released. Since I had just gotten paid the day before I picked up the album. After Jill walked me around the store in an attempt to burn off my energy, we made our purchase and went back to her house.
In a move right out of storybook tales, Hall & Oates’ music calmed me down. Now, you would have thought me 7 AM hung-over four-mile run would have calmed me down, but, in all honesty, physical exercise could wind me up tighter. But, the combination of cold medications and Big Bam Boom settle my soul. Well, you know how it can happen, but one thing led to another, and, well, as we learned a month later, we had conceived our first son that day. And, the two of us attribute it to Daryl Hall & John Oates’ music.
Now, fast-forward to the late Summer of 1988. Jill and I had just attended a Daryl Hall & John Oates concert in Cincinnati. We drove back to her parents’ home where our older son was staying. In Jill’s hometown, the residents hold a little festival to raise money for the town’s volunteer fire department, with the big attraction for young people in their twenties being a beer garden. So, obviously, we continued our party attitude in the beer garden with her family and childhood friends. It was a classic night. Of course, whenever Hall & Oates are involved with us, things happened. And, well, the outcome was yet another son being conceived. So, yes, the music of Daryl Hall & John Oates was “two-for-two” in the baby-conceiving department, which made us a little leery to spin their music for too long.
Yes, a little TMI, “Too Much Information,” but we find it humorous…now! To this day, we understand the danger of too much Hall & Oates in our lives, so we stick to moderation, even though we are in our fifties and completely out of the baby-making business, you just never know if God might find it funny to make us into another biblical situation.
Anyway, the two of us have always loved the music of rock’s finest duo, even before we became a couple and then a statistic in unplanned pregnancies. As we near our older son’s thirty-fourth birthday, I thought it would be fun to list my Top 50 Favorite Songs by Daryl Hall & John Oates. I think my wife and I are safe, but you can read this at your own risk!
50. “Romeo Is Bleeding” (Marigold Sky, 1997)
49. “Without You” (Our Kind of Soul, 2004)
48. “Forever for You” (Do It for Love, 2002)
47. “It’s Uncanny” (No Goodbyes, 1977)
46. “The Sky Is Falling” (Marigold Sky, 1997)
45. “Don’t Hold Back Your Love” (Change of Season, 1990)
44. “Missed Opportunity” (Ooh Yeah!, 1988)
43. “I’ll Be Around” (Our Kind of Soul, 2004)
42. “Promise Ain’t Enough” (Marigold Sky, 1997)
41. “A Night at the Apollo Live! The Way You Do the Things You Do/My Girl (with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks)” (Live at the Apollo, 1985)
40. “Someday We’ll Know” (Do It for Love, 2002)
39. “When the Morning Comes” (Abandoned Luncheonette, 1973)
38. “Portable Radio” (X-Static, 1979)
37. “Don’t Change” (Beauty on a Back Street, 1977)
36. “Do What You Want, Be What You Are” (Bigger Than Both of Us, 1976)
35. “Downtown Life” (Ooh Yeah!, 1988)
34. “Philadelphia Freedom” (Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin, 1991)
33. “I Can Dream About You” (Our Kind of Soul, 2004)
32. “Possession Obsession” (Big Bam Boom, 1984)
31. “Italian Girls” (H2O, 1982)
30. “Jingle Bell Rock” (Non-album single, 1983)
29. “Method of Modern Love” (Big Bam Boom, 1984)
28. “Your Imagination” (Private Eyes, 1981)
27. “I Don’t Want to Lose You” (Along the Red Ledge, 1978)
26. “How Does It Feel to Be Back” (Voices, 1980)
25. “Camellia” (Daryl Hall and John Oates, 1975)
24. “Back Together Again” (Bigger Than Both of Us, 1976)
23. “Family Man” (H2O, 1982)
22. “Everything Your Heart Desires” (Ooh Yeah!, 1988)
21. “Man on a Mission” (Do It for Love, 2002)
20. “Adult Education” (Rock ‘n’ Soul: Part 1, 1983)
19. “Did It in a Minute” (Private Eyes, 1981)
18. “Do It for Love” (Do It for Love, 2002)
17. “So Close” (Change of Season, 1990)
16. “It’s a Laugh” (Along the Red Ledge, 1978)
15. “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” (Big Bam Boom, 1984)
14. “One on One” (H2O, 1982)
13. “Private Eyes” (Private Eyes, 1981)
12. “Kiss on My List” (Voices, 1980)
11. “Say It Isn’t So” (Rock ‘n’ Soul: Part 1, 1983)
10. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (Voices, 1980). I know I will catch crap from the Boomers on this, but Hall & Oates made the definitive version of this song. Sure, Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound production is outstanding and timeless, and the Righteous Brothers’ vocals are so very soulful. But, Daryl Hall & John Oates just kill this song, paying homage to the Sixties all the while bringing it into the Eighties proving the song is a piece of art.
9. “You Make My Dreams” (Voices, 1980). Can you believe this song never reached the top of the charts back in the day? It’s true! Hell, I cannot remember what song kept it from reaching number one. Was it “Jessie’s Girl”? Oh, who cares?!?! This song is now immortal.
8. “Out of Touch” (Big Bam Boom, 1984). The forgotten number one song in Hall & Oates catalog. People have forgotten about this great song.
7. “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” (Private Eyes, 1981). I remember a black friend of mine just loving this song. He was always stopping by my dorm room to say, “Those white boys sure can sing!” This song has been sampled many times over by hip hop artists.
6. “Rich Girl” (Bigger Than Both of Us, 1976). This song damn near won a write-in contest on Muncie radio station when I was 14. I was one of three entrants in a contest to list the Top 3 Songs of 1977, with this song at number 3 for the year on the station. I lost the drawing, but I do have the memory. Oh, by the way, Brandon Flowers of The Killers once said that you can learn everything about writing a great pop song from this song. I couldn’t agree more!
5. “Wait for Me” (X-Static, 1979). This song is just fabulously underrated. What a great hook! I cannot believe that it never caught on with the public back in the day. This was the blueprint the duo used for their breakthrough album Voices the following year.
4. “Maneater” (H2O, 1982). This song is a classic! And, that bassline by the late Tom “T-Bone” Wolk is just delicious. What teenager wasn’t moved by this song back in the day?
3. “Everytime You Go Away” (Voices, 1980). Never a hit for the boys but a number one smash for British blue-eyed soul singer Paul Young five years later, this song is definitive Daryl Hall. He simply makes the song a soul/gospel tour de force that may have been too raw for the American public at the time.
2. “Sara Smile” (Daryl Hall and John Oates, 1975). This song was my entry into the world of Hall & Oates. I bought the album for the sale price of $3.99, and it remains the best buy of my life. Additionally, the song remains burned in my memory as a slow dance song at a seventh-grade dance.
1. “She’s Gone” (Abandoned Luncheonette, 1973). Released in 1973, but not a hit until the Summer of 1976, “She’s Gone” is the thesis for the duo’s whole career. The soulful amalgamation of rock, pop, R&B, Philly soul and folk is as timeless as it is peerless. It will always be the duo’s calling card. One hundred years from now, some smart ass kid will rediscover it, record it and make a huge hit out of it. “She’s Gone” has to be one of the 100 greatest songs of the rock era.
I really could have listed 100 songs, but I whittled it down to 50 for time sake. These guys will always remain one of my ten all-time favorite artists. Thank goodness I no longer have to bitch about them being left out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They just might represent the first band that was more of a favorite of Gen Xers than Boomers, who just seemed to make fun of them.