|Daryl Hall & John Oates.
Song 6: Had I Known You Better Then
There is no doubt that Hall is the star of Hall & Oates, but a check of songwriting credits and a dig into their back catalogue, not to mention a little Behind The Music-style research confirms just how vital Oates was to the success of the duo. Mammoth 80s hits like Maneater and Out Of Touch both started as John Oates melodies that were given the Daryl Hall treatment which resulted in number one positions.
Maneater is a brilliant case in point of both the genesis of a song to its end result and also of the value of having a songwriting partner. Maneater began as an Oates attempt at reggae, but Hall heard it and took it down the Motown-route for what ultimately became their biggest ever hit. During that era of 80s supremacy many people began to regard Oates as the most famous and overpaid backing singer on the planet, including the man himself, but hindsight gives clarity in his achievements.
Wind the clock back 10 years to the mid 70s and the two men operated as a much more even duo and today’s Hall & Oates song is an example of that. From their landmark Arif Mardin produced LP Abandoned Luncheonette, Had I Known You Better Then shows there was a not inconsiderable amount of folk mixed in with the famous Hall & Oates rock ‘n’ soul.
This version of Oates’ Had I Known You Better Then is from Hall’s acclaimed web-series Live From Daryl’s House and has the duo (plus friends) in fine harmonic form.