The Wall Street Journal has a nice article explaining why Hall and Oates belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It’s “nice”, but, except for a solid quote from Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley, it’s not terribly illuminating even if it does reach the correct conclusion. The tone of the article is defensive and makes it sound like they deserve induction in spite of their career, rather than because of it.
As an unabashed Hall and Oates fan, I say Hall and Oates are amazing and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame isn’t worthy of the title without Hall and Oates. Rather than go through their career album by album, I’ll point to their greatest hits album, Rock N Soul Part 1. Take a look at that track listing and try to tell me that this isn’t one of the strongest compilation albums out there, and then remember that this album came out before one of their most popular albums, Big Bam Boom!
If you give it a listen, you’ll be struck by several things:
* You probably know all of the songs
* The songs have aged better than they have any right to.
* The performances, both vocal and instrumental, are immaculate.
Sure, Hall and Oates were popular to the point of being ubiquitous. For some reason, there are people who hold that against them. I have never understood that line of thinking regarding any popular artist. I understand taking pride in having broad and idiosyncratic tastes in music, but blowing off great music just because its popular seems kind of willfully self-defeating, not to mention silly.
I’ll link a few of their best-known tunes just to remind you, but I would like to leave you with this. Hall and Oates were and are great, they were popular, they were influential (listen to “Billy Jean” again and see if that beat sounds familiar), and they’ve great guys too. Liking Hall and Oates is no more ironic than liking great music.
Hint: Here’s why Billy Jean sounds familiar
This is how you build to a chorus (thank you, John Oates):
This is one of my all time favorite, not just one of my favorite H&O tunes. The outchorus is otherworldly.
As a bonus, here’s the official promotional video for She’s Gone. All by itself, this is worthy of the Hall of Fame: