‘You know how it is with brothers’: Inside the life-long friendship that is Hall and Oates

Hall and Oates will gather again for another round of tour dates later this month, reuniting after a period that’s seen John Oates issue a series of solo songs and Daryl Hall return with a new season of Live from Daryl’s House.

That time apart, if anything, seems to strengthen this bond, Oates says.

“Everybody has their quirks and their personality issues, and I’m no different — and he’s no different,” Oates tells Pat Monahan. “We’ve learned to tolerate each other. We’re like brothers, and you know how it is with brothers. We don’t see each other; we don’t need to see each other. But the moment we are together, it’s like time has stopped.”

Working separately also tends to give the duo a fresh perspective on one another: “Daryl’s a monster,” Oates says. “I stand next to him every night; I should know.”

Though best known for a string of No. 1 hits in the 1980s, this musical relationship actually stretches much further back. Hall and Oates met in the late 1960s, while attending Temple University in Philadelphia. It would be another five years before their folk-inspired debut, titled Whole Oats, was released on Atlantic — and another eight after that before they combined their early influences with new wave to form a nervy new amalgam on the breakout 1980 hit Voices.

By the end of the 1980s, they’d become the best selling duo in music history, and drifted into solo projects. Recently named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they reunite occasionally now for well-received tours — and it’s like nothing has changed.

“We reminesce, and I know what he is thinking,” Oates says. “I don’t even have to look at him on stage. It’s just this thing that happens. It’s really cool, and that thing can only happen maybe once in a lifetime, if you are lucky. So, I don’t take it for granted.”

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