Hall & Oates

I haven’t really been all that enamored with the new spin-off from Family Guy, The Cleveland Show. I am still holding out on a final decision, though, as it did take me awhile to warm up to American Dad.

(though I dug Roger, the incorrigible alien, from the start)

The other night they made a reference to Peabo Bryson which was amusing because, musical considerations not considered, Peabo is a fun word to say and it is a fun word to hear said.

(however, aside from that one infommercial for some soft rock collection which Bryson hosted and possibly Casey Kasem, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard someone say “Peabo”)

Hall & Oates was also referenced as a good angel/bad angel on Cleveland’s shoulders, trying to influence a decision.

I lived through the years of the early ’80s, they were my musical formative years, so, at the time I began listening to radio, Hall & Oates was a pop music juggernaut.

Pull up a list of their hits and run through their singles during that period; it’s staggering.

I don’t recall if Hall & Oates had any credibility in the early ’80s. The only rock criticism I had access to at the time was a still somewhat relevent (but beginning to decline) Rolling Stone. I think that the magazine mostly ignored Hall & Oates.

But, I don’t remember animosity toward the duo, either. Everyone knew the songs and most were big radio hits. However, this ubiquitousness didn’t seem to generate the rancor usually accompanying such familiarity.

You’d hear the songs, enjoy some more than others, but I don’t remember knowing anyone, personally, that was passionate about Hall & Oates – no one mocked them, no one wore their concert shirts.

Most of those songs still sound fantastic thirty years later, though. And Hall & Oates do seem to be experiencing a rediscovery during the past few years (and getting some long-overdue acclaim).

It made me consider what Hall & Oates songs that I’d most want to hear at this moment.

I don’t want to hear You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling. To be honest – and I know this statement will make some shake their heads in dismay – I don’t want to hear that song by anyone.

(Thanks Top Gun)

I’m so tired of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, I can’t remember if I ever liked it.

I dug Adult Education at the time, but time has not been kind to the song. Now, I think I find it overwrought and even a bit creepy.

Method Of Modern Love was too goofy for me in 1985 and it’s still goofy but not in a way that appeals to me.

But most of the songs are ones that are more than welcome to pop up on shuffle.

Some of the lesser hits – How Does It Feel To Be Back, Your Imagination, Possession Obsession – are appealing (maybe because they weren’t as monstrous hits as songs like You Make My Dreams, I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do), or Maneater).

So, if I wanted to hear some Hall & Oates right now, I think here are a quartet of songs I’d be inclined to pull up (and Wait For Me would be on here if it hadn’t made a recent appearance)…

Hall & Oates – Kiss On My List
from Voices

So, after touting Hall & Oates lesser hits, the first one I opted for was one of their biggest, but, from the stutter-step opening, Kiss On My List hooks me when I hear it. It’s lighthearted, playful, and has a fantastic chorus.

It’s also the first song by the duo which I remember being all over the radio. It also makes me think of rainy Friday afternoons in seventh grade when our homeroom teacher would allow us to play albums. She usually went with Christopher Cross, but I recall Kiss On My List being a favorite, too.

Hall & Oates – Your Imagination
from Private Eyes

In the summer of ’82, we took a family vacation to Western Pennsylvania. For two weeks, I heard Your Imagination, which I hadn’t heard on the stations back home. Those stations still weren’t playing the song when we returned and it was though it had never existed.

Maybe it was because Hall & Oates had already had the massive hits Private Eyes and I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) as well as the underappreciated gem Did It In A Minute from their Private Eyes album, but the quirky, understated Your Imagination seemed to get lost in the wake.

Hall & Oates- Family Man
from H2O

Dark and paranoid, Family Man stood out from Hall & Oates hits of the early ’80s with its agressive guitars and New Wave vibe.

The track is actually a cover of a song by Mike Oldfield, of Tubular Bells fame. I used to have a copy of Oldfield’s version and, aside from the female vocalist on the original, Hall & Oates take is, as I recall, pretty faithful.

Hall & Oates – Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid
from Big Bam Boom

By the time Big Bam Boom came out in late 1984, pop music and Top 40 stations had begun to hold far less interest for me than it had merely a year earlier. So, I was unimpressed with Out Of Touch and Method Of Modern Love, the first two hits from the album. I’ve already declared the latter to be goofy, but the former just seems soulless and stilted.

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid was the album’s third hit the following spring and is neither soulless nor stilted. It bobs along on a gentle melody and was one of the last songs by Hall & Oates to get a lot of airplay even if it didn’t reach the heights that they had earlier in the decade.

5 Responses to Hall & Oates

  1. Perplexio says:

    I think the reason Hall & Oates didn’t generate the same level of rancor as other bands that have reached their level of ubiquity was that they had so many different songs that were being played at the same time. It wasn’t like in 1992 when no matter what station you turned to Whitney Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You was being played. Heck I’d attribute that song as much to the decline of her career as I would her marriage to Bobby Brown and her recreational pharmaceutical habits. Then we got it again in late 1997 early 1998 with Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On (and I’d argue Celine’s career never recovered from that).

    If Hall & Oates had had one monster hit that was being played on continuous rotation every 3rd or 4th song on just about every FM radio station they likely would have suffered the level of rancor of which you infer. Either by their design or that of their management there were enough different Hall & Oates songs to choose from to prevent that from happening.

    • barelyawakeinfrogpajamas says:

      That very well might have kept them from being ever-present to the point of annoying. The deeper playlists and less homogenization between stations in those days offered a lot more choice, too.

  2. Alex says:

    My favorite Hall & Oates song is actually a Daryl Hall solo number: “Dreamtime” from his 1986 album Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine.

  3. […] Click here to go to BAIFP to check Hall & Oates “Family Man”, “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”, “Kiss On My List”, and “Your Imagination” […]

  4. whiteray says:

    I’d have to call on “She’s Gone,” the LP version, not the single edit. And I’d add “Las Vegas Turnaround” from “Abandoned Luncheonette.” Theirs is a rich catalog.

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