Hall and Oates took a circuitious road to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, waiting some 15 years after becoming eligible for induction. Once they got there, Daryl Hall had something very direct to say about the way the duo’s hometown of Philadelphia was represented in this august facility.
But first, Hall and Oates might have been part of the most humor-filled induction in memory, and certainly the most on a night that also saw Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, the E Street Band, Linda Rondstadt, Cat Stevens, Andrew Loog Oldham and Brian Epstein recognized.
The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony premieres exclusively on HBO this weekend, beginning at 8 ET on May 31, 2014. The ceremony reairs June 4, 7, 10, 16, 22, 27 and 30 on HBO, and June 3, 6, 8, 11, 19, 24, and 29 on HBO2. Check local listings.
“Hall and Oates can cure any known ailment — H20 can heal you,” inductor (and fellow proud Philadelphian) Questlove says, before redubbing their new home “the Hall and Oates of Fame.”
The laughs actually began before Questlove took the podium, when a preview clip showed John Oates quipping: “I am the most underrated, and highly paid, background singer in the history of music.” Questlove later asks the crowd to give it up for Oates, which prompted Hall to huge applause.
Hall and Oates went on to offer energetic readings of band favorites “You Make My Dreams” and “She’s Gone,” the latter of which Questlove discovered as a youngster. “That song,” he deadpanned, “scared the bejesus out of me. Who does that to a four-year-old?”
As he rummaged through his father’s record collection, Questlove says he came across Hall and Oates’ legendary 1975 self-titled album, which features the duo glammed up in the style of the day. “That taught me something about Hall and Oates,” Questlove added. “Which is: Those two guys make good-looking women.”
Later, he purchased (in fact, he said everyone purchased) Rock ‘n Soul Part 1, Hall and Oates’ 1983 greatest hits collection — though Questlove had one quibble: “Yes, I’m still patiently waiting for Part 2.”
Oates joined in the fun, as part of their own induction comments — though the humor in his joke fell flat in the advance review material, because of an editing choice by the producers. In the television presentation, Hall and Oates’ segment arrives before those for the E Street Band, rather than after as it had on the night of the ceremony in Brooklyn. Their multi-member acceptances ran so long that it prompted Oates to (quite hilariously) say: “Luckily for you, there’s only two of us.”
Early on, Questlove also made note of their Pennsylvania roots, calling Hall and Oates “proud Philly boys.”
That opened the door for an impassioned moment in Hall’s acceptance: “Speaking of Philadelphia, you know I did some research. Do you know we are the only home-grown Philadelphia band that has been put into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Do you guys know that? [Applause erupts at the Barclays Center.] I’m not saying that because I’m proud of that. I’m saying that because it’s fucked up. What happened to Todd Rundgren and the Stylistics and the Delfonics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Lenny Barry, Chubby Checker? How about the biggest single in the world, Chubby Checker? Why isn’t he in here? You guys tell me. So, I’m calling everybody out. There better be more Philadelphia artists in this place, OK? That’s all I’ve got to say.”
In what was clearly an unrehearsed moment, Hall and Oates decided to speak together at the podium — “nobody does this shit together,” Hall jokes — rather than one after the other, a lasting symbol of their collaborative bond.