|Hall & Oates, live in the 80s.|
Celebrating Hall & Oates’ long overdue induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame last week, I thought it was time for another list.
Songs like She’s Gone, Sara Smile, Rich Girl, Kiss On My List, I Can’t Go For That, Maneater, Say It Isn’t So, Out Of Touch etc were all major hits for the duo in the 70s and 80s and still sound vital today. But what of the rest of the catalogue? For that, here are my top 10 lesser-known Hall & Oates songs:
Bank On Your Love, 1984: A bombastic pop tune with a great deal of swagger and a good deal of cowbell.
Open All Night, 1982: A first-rate cut of paranoid, atmospheric 80s R&B. One of many subtle examples of how Oates’ oft-falsettoed background vocals make Hall-sung songs more arresting than they’d be on their own.
Your Imagination, 1981: The only one of the four Private Eyes singles to miss the US top 10, this has a funk groove in desperate need of a 21st century hip-hop sample.
I’m Just A Kid Don’t Make Me Feel Like A Man, 1973: A John Oates folk beauty from the Arif Mardin-produced Abandoned Luncheonette.
Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid, 1984: Another standout from their blockbuster Big Bam Boom LP, most notable for the final two and half minutes where the song takes an unexpected and dramatic twist from its opening two minutes. A US top 20 hit in an era where Hall & Oates owned the top 10.
Time’s Up, 1979: A musical cousin of 1977’s US #1 Rich Girl, this was inexplicably left off the X-Static LP, emerging years later as a bonus track.
Wait For Me, 1979 and 2012 – Daryl Hall & Pat Monahan from Train: Originally an OK mid-tempo late 70s US top 20, Wait For Me has grown to be much more emotionally powerful when presented in soulful, ballad form. Similar to 1990’s US top 20 So Close in that the ballad version is superior to the better known faster-tempo interpretation.
Melody For A Memory, 1978: A John Oates epic highlighting quite stunning vocal interplay with Hall, this song – like Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid – is all about the final couple of minutes where the vocal and bass ad-libs kick in.
Fall In Philadelphia, 1972: A soulful and melodic ballad from their first LP, consistent with much of the under appreciated material from this era in the duo’s career.
Do What You Want, Be What You Are, 1976: A lower-reaching top 40 hit, this is a masterclass of slow-burning, blues-tinged R&B.