The late John Lennon once joked with his pal Elton John that even death couldn’t possibly increase the amount of saturation airplay Elton was receiving at the height of his fame in 1974. “If you ever die,” the ex-Beatle quipped, “I’ll throw my radio out the window.”
Daryl Hall chuckles during a phone conversation from his Charleston home when reminded of this conversation. One could have said the same in the first half of the 1980s about Daryl Hall and John Oates (never ‘Hall & Oates,’ check your records) when the pop duo were on the radio every minute with No. 1 hits “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” “Maneater” and “Out of Touch.”
“It was sort of the eye of the hurricane, a lot of touring and a lot of craziness around us, and we were the center of it all trying to do our jobs, writing songs and performing them and trying to be calm in the face of it all,” Hall, 70, said.
“In retrospect, I look back at it as sort of the first phase of my life, what I needed to do to do what I’m doing now. It was a necessary trial.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
[We’re] mixing with brand new artists who have the enthusiasm versus my experience and what comes out of that. I love collaborations. I speak a lot of musical languages. It’s very natural.
Daryl Hall on what makes his TV/internet show ‘Live From Daryl’s House’ work.
On June 7, Daryl Hall and John Oates headline an arena tour at downtown Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena, with ’80s pop duo Tears for Fears (“Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Shout”).
Hall is in the 10th year of hosting his popular internet series turned television show, “Live From Daryl’s House,” which won its second Webby award in the music (channels and networks) category in April as the People’s Voice Winner. The show’s collaborative prototype, he said, was a club tour he did in the mid ’90s with singer-songwriter Carly Simon in which the two swapped verses on their individual songs. He is also nearing completion on his sixth solo studio album — “a gritty, funky, very heartfelt album with a little New Orleans influence in it” — he hopes to release in early 2018.
Meanwhile, Oates, 68, recently released his memoir, “Change of Seasons,” which takes its title from a 1990 Daryl Hall and John Oates album.
Yes, Hall read Oates’ book. “He sent me each chapter to vet. I read it from the beginning and I think he found a voice as a writer. He handled some awkward things with grace. He could have named names and he could have been more forceful as I probably would have been. But that’s his way and he navigated it pretty well.”
Like Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Hall and Oates have known each other for the majority of their lives. But unlike the other pair, their musical and personal relationship has endured since the release of that first album, “Whole Oats,” in 1972. Simon and Garfunkel managed about six continuous years together, not counting occasional reunion tours, between the release of their first album in 1964 and their last studio set, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in 1970.
“Our personalities are of a type where I’m more alpha than John is and he accepts that,” Hall said. “It’s a situation that doesn’t have conflict and without conflict there’s no tension. We spend so much time as solo people — we never wrote that much together — and we shared the stage. That was our history and we continue to do that. But we are very individual and have our own worlds and that has kept us together.”
The two also share a bond over Philly soul music, the funky yet lush, infectious R&B sound popularized by acts like the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and the Stylistics that graced early Daryl Hall and John Oates classics like “She’s Gone” and “Sara Smile.”
We’re two different people.
Daryl Hall on why the abbreviated name ‘Hall & Oates’ has never appeared on any project. Rather, it’s Daryl Hall and John Oates.
“We grew up 15 miles from each other outside of Philly,” Hall said. “It’s proximity more than anything, a mutual love of the same kind of music. We both drew from the same sources.”
The pair also have a willingness to fold in other influences like new wave (the “Voices” album), folk and experimental (“Whole Oats” and “War Babies”), disco (“X-Static”) and rock (“Along the Red Ledge,” a somewhat overlooked 1978 album Hall calls one of their best.)
“I consider myself to be a creative trailblazer. Our fusion of folk music and soul music in the early days was something people hadn’t even done,” Hall said. “That was a bit of pioneering. A lot of people are doing that now but that was not common then. All I know is we never sounded like anything else on the radio and that’s a unique legacy and I still don’t like to repeat myself. I’m constantly moving.”
Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.
If you go
What: Daryl Hall and John Oates with Tears for Fears and Allen Stone in concert
Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
When: 7 p.m. June 7
Tickets: $31-$399 through Ticketmaster