Hall And Oates Finally Bringing Philly “Attytood” To Rock Hall


That collective buzz of “attytood” coming out of the Northeast this week? Well, that was just Philly saying, “It’s about time.” Hall and Oates are going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, class of 2014. It only took 17 years. The duo have been eligible for induction since 1997. Really? It took 17 years for the top-selling duo in rock and roll history to get into the music industry’s hall of fame? “Get the bleep outta here!” Thanks, Philly.

For the past decade – until retiring a few months ago – I’ve been executive editor of a group of weekly newspapers that just happen to cover the hometowns of Daryl Hall and John Oates in suburban Philadelphia. This is cool on a couple of levels: I’m a big Hall and Oates fan and have liked their music for decades. And every time they’ve been in the news with a new project or concert appearance, I’ve been able to conduct interviews with one or both of them, several times over the years.

As great as their music is, though, the thing that has impressed me even more about Hall and Oates is that they’re both genuinely nice, down-to-earth guys.

Of all the interviews I’ve done with them, the highlight for me was early in 2013 when, in separate interviews, I talked to Daryl and John about their recollections on the 40th anniversary of the release of their second album, “Abandoned Luncheonette,” in 1973.

“It’s a special album. It was like a perfect storm of creativity for us. It was the right producer in the right studio with the right musicians and the right songs all at the same time,” said Oates. “It’s my favorite album. You can’t plan it, it just happens. The very fact that I’m playing those songs to this day, and Daryl and I play ‘She’s Gone’ every night and it sounds just as good as the day we wrote it . . . I’m very proud to have done it.”

Hall agreed. “What sticks out in my mind was that it was very much a Daryl and John album. We were really clicking as a creative team in those days. There’s a lot of great John Oates moments on that album that still really impress me,” said Hall.

Hall called Side One of “Abandoned Luncheonette” the “magic side.” It featured three Oates songs, “Had I Known You Better Then,” “Las Vegas Turnaround” and “I’m Just a Kid (Don’t Make Me Feel Like a Man).” Hall wrote “When the Morning Comes” and both shared writing credit on what would become one of their biggest hits, “She’s Gone.”

“On Side One, there’s not a note in that body of work that isn’t just right,” said Hall. “We were in Atlantic Records studios (in New York). Aretha (Franklin) was walking in and out. Bob Dylan was walking in and out. Dr. John was nodding in and out. And all those great studio musicians were in the room regularly. That’s the environment we cut this music in.”

Hall won’t go quite so far as to call “Abandoned Luncheonette” his favorite album. Maybe. “I can’t say. But it was one of my favorite experiences, I’ll say that,” said Hall. “I guess I would equate that with a favorite album, because I loved working with Arif Mardin (the producer) and all those musicians.”

A few other tidbits gleaned from several interviews over the years: Neither Hall nor Oates are fond of their music being called “blue-eyed soul.” They prefer it simply be described as “soul” music. And Oates has a pretty good sense of humor when it comes to the mustache he wore in the 1970’s and 1980’s along with the fact that the facial hair has taken on a life of its own over the years.

“I just think it’s funny,” said Oates in a 2010 interview. “People are always asking me about it. Just the other day, a request came in for me to sing a song for Yosemite Sam’s mustache. Just because I had one, evidently I’m now the go-to guy for anything that has to do with lip hair.”

So finally, just more than 40 years after making their second album, Hall and Oates are going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“It’s about bleepin’ time,” said Philly.

Michael Morsch

Michael Morsch

Mike Morsch is a freelance writer from suburban Philadelphia. His award-winning weekly "Outta Leftfield" humor column appeared in Montgomery Media's 15 newspapers and websites for 10 years. He is also the author of the book, "Dancing in My Underwear: The Soundtrack of My Life," which is about growing up with the music of the 1960s and 1970s.
Michael Morsch
Michael Morsch