Hall and Oates started by turning down early offer from a legendary label: ‘We want to do something different’

Share this:

If things would have gone a different way, if Hall and Oates hadn’t had quite the same courage about what they wanted to try, they might have just been another Philadelphia International soul group — rather than the genre-jumping pioneers they became.

In fact, Philadlephia International’s legendary Kenny Gamble — with whom Daryl Hall had been working for some time as a sideman — even offered the fledgling duo a deal, only to get a surprising answer. “We were like, ‘Well, we love what you guys do,'” Hall tells Pete Lewis of BluesandSoul, “‘but we want to do something different. We want to take the music some place else.'”

It was a gutsy move for someone who was probably guaranteed a good bit of reflective success, just by sitting tight. After all, fellow Philly products like the Spinners, Jerry Butler and the Delfonics would become quite at home at the top of the charts. Meanwhile, Philadelphia International also became the home of the O’Jays, Lou Rawls, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and Billy Paul, among many others.

And Hall knew them all. “I ended up being signed on and off to some of their labels while simultaneously working on a lot of studio sessions with the same guys who played on records by the O’Jays, Jerry Butler, the Spinners — and everybody else recording in Philly at that time. You know, musicians like Norman Harris, Bobby Eli and Earl Young were people I played with constantly, almost every day. Plus, I knew a lot of the groups themselves, like the Delfonics from Overbrook High School and the Uptown Theatre — which, back in the late Sixties, was like Philadelphia’s version of the Apollo. So yeah, they were great days. It was all like one big family, really.”

Hall and his college buddy John Oates left all of that behind in 1972, however, to find their way to the Big Apple.

“You know, John and I had this whole idea of doing this sort of R&B/acoustic thing — which may seem like nothing special now, but was pretty revolutionary back then,” Hall adds. “Basically our concept was to take these sort of folky/acoustic-y influences and mix them with R&B, and we felt we had to leave Philadelphia to do it right. So we moved to New York City, and that was the very, very beginning of us trying to figure where we were gonna go musically.”

Something Else!

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Something Else!
Share this:
Close