‘We’re very much more than our hits’: The case for Hall and Oates as album artists

When HBO called recently inquiring about usage rights for the Hall and Oates deep cut “Alone Too Long” from their 1975 self-titled release, it came as little surprise. John Oates says they always considered themselves album artists.

“Daryl and I are very adamant about this: We’re very much more than our hits,” Oates tells Lightning 100.

And it’s that consistency that helped Hall and Oates finally garner induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, years after their Billboard-busting hey day. As new generations of fans discovered them, there was a treasure trove of music beyond their well-worn group of biggest-selling singles.

“You can’t plan on hits,” Oates adds. “People accused us, back in the 1980s when we were having this ridiculous run of No. 1 records, of being these popmeisters who could just churn out No. 1 records. I was, like: Are you freaking kidding me? If you could make a No. 1 record, everyone would do it.”

Hall and Oates, in fact, gave over decision making on selecting singles to label management, perferring to focus on the entirety of their recording projects. Fans then would discover these songs, and they would make them world famous — just as ultimately, Oates believes, the fans helped push Hall and Oates into a long-awaited Rock Hall invite.

“I think Daryl and I are way more proud of the albums that we made, because we took just as much care with the albums,” Oates adds. “The singles were actually a by product of the albums, in that they were chosen by the record company — not us. We never chose singles. We just made the best records we could, and the ones that seemed to be radio friendly rose to the top.”

Hall and Oates have had 34 charting songs, with five of their six chart-toppers coming between 1981-84. They’ll join Kiss, Peter Gabriel and Nirvana in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the latest induction class next year.

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