The enormous success of Hall & Oates in the 70's and 80's - including six #1 singles and six platinum albums - ensured that the 70's Philly soul sound would not be limited to black artists. A hit cover of the Righteous Brothers' classic "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" confirmed their desire to carry on the blue-eyed soul tradition that was later perpetuated by artists like Michael Bolton.
The duo, proclaimed by Billboard to be the bestselling duo of all time, achieved their success through the slick combination of Hall's falsetto and Oates' warm baritone. A student at Temple University, Daryl Hall sang lead with the Temptones and recorded a single produced by Kenny Gamble (Gamble and Huff) in 1966. He first met Oates, a former member of Philadelphia soul band the Masters, in 1967. After briefly performing together, the duo went their separate ways. Hall subsequently made solo records and formed soft-rock band Gulliver with Tim Moore, recording one album in 1969. Hall and Oates were reunited the same year, and the two men began to perform around Philadelphia and write acoustic-leaning songs together.
They were discovered by Tommy Mottola, then a local representative of Chappell Music, who became their manager and scored them a deal with Atlantic Records. Their three albums for the label had star producers (Arif Mardin on Whole Oats and Todd Rundgren for War Babies) but sold few copies. However, Abandoned Luncheonette included the first version of one of Hall And Oates' many classic soul ballads, "She's Gone."
After they moved to RCA in 1975, the duo landed on its successful mixture of soul, pop and rock, scoring a Top Ten single with "Sara Smile." The success of "Sara Smile" prompted the re-release of "She's Gone," which rocketed into the Top Ten as well. Released in the summer of 1976, Bigger than the Both of Us was only moderately successful upon its release. The record took off in early 1977, when "Rich Girl" became the duo's first number one single.
Starting in the late 70s, they became more adventurous, incorporating more rock elements into their blue-eyed soul. The combination would finally pay off in late 1980, when the duo released the self-produced Voices, the album that marked the beginning of Hall & Oates' greatest commercial and artistic success. "Kiss On My List" became the duo's second #1 single.
1981's Private Eyes had two more #1 hits, "Private Eyes" and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," which also spent a week at the top of the R&B charts. H20 followed in 1982, selling more than two million copies and launching their biggest hit single, "Maneater." The following year, the duo released a greatest-hits compilation, Rock 'N' Roll Soul, Part 1, that featured two new Top Ten hits, the number two "Say It Isn't So" and "Adult Education."
1984's Big Bam Boom expanded their number of gold and platinum awards, selling more than two million copies and launching four Top 40 singles, including the number one "Out of Touch."
During a three year hiatus from the partnership, Hall recorded his second solo album with production by Dave Stewart and enjoyed a US Top 5 hit with "Dreamtime." Reunited in 1988, Hall And Oates had another Top 5 hit with "Everything Your Heart Desires." On the 1990 Top 20 hit "So Close," producers Jon Bon Jovi and Danny Kortchmar added a strong rock flavor to their sound. The duo did not record together again until 1997's Marigold Sky. They continued to tour and record well into the new millennium.