‘We came up with this crazy idea’: Inside Hall and Oates’ high-concept early video for ‘She’s Gone’

Hall and Oates became associated, into the 1980s, with high concept videos like those for “Out of Touch” and “Adult Education.” But their earliest — for the early-1970s hit “She’s Gone” — may still be their most interesting. “No one made vidoes in those days — there was no such thing,” Oates tells Newbsradio.com. “You have to remember: This was in 1973. MTV didn’t exist. There was no concept of videos.”

The entire project actually grew out of a scheduling snafu. Hall and Oates, coming off the release of the classic Abandoned Luncheonette, had been asked to appear on one of the popular regional lip-sync music shows of the era, Summertime at the Pier out of Atlantic City, New Jersey — but they couldn’t make it in time to perform live.

[HALL OF FAME LEAKED: A story tonight on RollingStone.com apparently confirms that Hall and Oates -- along with Kiss, Nirvana and Peter Gabriel -- will be part of the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class.]

That led to an offer from the producers to pre-tape a segment, and H&O’s creative wheels started turning: “What they didn’t realize is that we were going to show up with a concept,” Oates adds. “They just thought we were going to stand there with guitars, and pretend to sing the song.”

The entire production, as you might expect, was on a shoe string. They brought along an armchair, and their own costumes — including Oates’ dolphin-finned jacket. Sara Allen, a longtime writing partner and the inspiration for the hit “Sara Smile,” played the love-interest role — while the devil was portrayed by Hall and Oates’ tour manager. Oates’ sister, then a film student at Temple University (where Hall originally met John), served as director.

“We came up with this crazy idea,” Oates says, and an iconic, endlessly offbeat legend was born. As for where all of these ideas came from, Oates adds: “Let’s just say: It was the 1970s.”

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  • Sheila Songster

    Hall and Oates: A very important, influential and innovative band.