If you look closely, the earliest hints at their latent individuality — maybe even the vibrant solo careers to come — was always front and center with Hall and Oates. It was, in fact, right there on the covers of Abandoned Luncheonette, Voices and Private Eyes.
“Take a look at every album that we’ve ever made,” John Oates points out. “You will never see the words ‘Hall and Oates,’ ever. You will see ‘Daryl Hall and John Oates.’ We purposely have always used our full names, because we consider ourselves to be two individual artists working together.”
And it continued, mostly, in that way through 1984’s Big Bam Boom. Hall released Sacred Songs in 1980, but otherwise didn’t begin really focusing on work outside of the main duo until 1986’s Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine. Since, he’s made another pair of solo albums, while starting a successful second career in television. Oates, meanwhile, has issued four studio albums since 2002, culminating with his well-received current release Good Road to Follow.
Oates says keeping their identities separate, and from the beginning, has only made their bond stronger. “That has enabled us to not only work together for a long time,” he says. “It’s also enabled us to do individual projects, and feel like we’re independent of each other. It might seem like a subtlety, but it’s actually very important.”
As for why the more abbreviated “Hall and Oates” took off instead, Oates laughingly replies: “It is just easier to say, I guess.”