Album Review: For casual fans looking for Daryl Hall and John Oates' best work, their productive career can be divided into two main periods. In the "70s Phase," Daryl Hall and John Oates started by crafting catchy folk-rock numbers, most of it high-quality stuff, including a few gems that rate among the best Hall and Oates songs of all time—for instance "Goodnight And Goodmorning", "Angelina" and "Past Times Behind". But this clear display of talent generally failed to gain them much notice.
Then Hall and Oates added blends of pop, soul, and R&B to the folk-rock base of their songs and their success grew. Their first big hit single was "Sara Smile," and its success immediately prompted rediscovery of the previous album, the stellar Abandoned Luncheonette, making one of the better songs from that album, "She's Gone", a hit and shining light on a number of other great tunes, including "When The Morning Comes," "Abandoned Luncheonette," and the unforgettable "Las Vegas Turnaround." Additional hits from the 70s Phase included the minor hit "Do What You Want, Be What You Are" and the much more successful "Rich Girl."
Then came the "80s Phase," and Hall and Oates' song writing finally found the sound that would make them superstars. They combined R&B with new-wave synths and catchy, almost danceable beats, and the Hall & Oates rocketship was on its way. From 1981-1985, the boys saw song after song reach the Top 10, often #1. The string of hits included "Private Eyes" ... "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" ... "Did It in a Minute" ... "Kiss On My List" ... "Maneater" ... "One on One" ... "Family Man" ... "Say It Isn't So" ... "Adult Education" ... "Method of Modern Love" ... "Out of Touch" ...
These, plus a number of other songs from that period that reached lesser positions in the Top 40, made Hall & Oates a household name. One music pundit even declared them the greatest duo of all time. Well, that's debatable. But what is not debatable is that Hall and Oates songs are still popular today, still selling well in best-of packages, original studio albums, and downloads. And deservedly so—these guys knew how to write and perform great pop tunes, and their inclusion of a variety of foundational genres is the reason their rich work will continue to be relevant and enjoyable.