‘It’s really hard to describe’: Hall and Oates came full circle with Temptations reunion

When Daryl Hall and John Oates were asked to perform at the gala mid-1980s reopening of the Apollo Theater, Hall says they immediately thought of appearing with the Temptations. The problem? Their childhood heroes Eddie Kendrick and David Ruffin were on the outs.

“Obviously, the Temptations have had their issues over the years, but David and Eddie were always friends of mine,” Hall tells WATD. “So, I called Eddie and asked if he wanted to come on stage — and they hadn’t really worked together that much. At that time, they weren’t working together. It was sort of a reunion for them, and a reunion for them and me. It was one of those serendipitous, amazing moments in life where full circles come around — where my origins met my present. It’s really hard to describe.”

Hall and Oates’ Live at the Apollo, their first concert recording since 1978’s Lifetime, followed — as did memorable stops with Ruffin and Kendricks at the Live Aid concert and the MTV Video Music Awards later that year. These appearances seemed to rejuvenate interest in the Temptations, and to help heal some old wounds for Ruffins and Kendrick. The group was subsequently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where they were introduced by H&O, and Kendrick and Ruffin joined together with fellow Temps alum Dennis Edwards for a tour.

“It was a very, very special time for me,” Hall adds. “The closest I’ve ever come to it, and not on that level, is when I had [fellow Motown legend] Smokey [Robinson] on the show — for Live at Daryl’s House. It was a very similar kind of thing, with someone who kind of gave me a reason to exist. There I was, with that person, singing and making music with them. It’s sort of an indescribable feeling.”

Ruffin and Kendricks would both pass within a year or so of one another in the early 1990s. Ruffins died of lung cancer, while Ruffin suffered a drug overdose. Hall and Oates will join them in the Rock Hall later this year.

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