Darryl Hall and John Oates hailed from Philadelphia and became one of the most successful muscial duos during the mid-1970s and especially during the early 1980s when they were among the most popular groups in the world. Early efforts used both voices in roughly equal measures, though Hall was always more comfortable as the frontman and was more prolific as a songwriter. During their 1980s heyday, Hall took a much more central role, with Oates relegated to backup vocals and “acting goofy” in the group’s popular music videos.

Hall & Oates (or, “Darry Hall & John Oates” or “Darry Hall John Oates”) scored a number of soul-inspired hits during the mid-1970s. Top ten hits included “Sara Smile”, “She’s Gone”, and the number one hit “Rich Girl” from 1977. For the next couple years, their success waned.

In 1980 the group recorded in New York for the first time, rather than Los Angeles, and took a more active role in producing. The group also added new synth sounds to make their “blue eyed soul” quite a bit more contemporary. The result was Voices, which featured two top 40 hits before their breakthrough number one smash “Kiss on My List.” That song was followed by the top five song “You Make My Dreams”. In an interesting footnote, the album also contained “Everytime you Go Away” which the group did not release as a single, but became a smash for Paul Young in 1985. Voices shot into the top 20 and went Platinum.

Kiss on My List” begins with a great piano riff, which makes the song very dancable. Jeff Southworth contributed a nice guitar solo and the song very much sent the template for the peppy pop that the group used for the next several years. The song was cowritten by Janna Allen, sister of Sara Allen (of “Sara Smile” fame), Hall’s love interest at the time. According to Hall, Eddie Van Halen ripped off the synth riff for this song for use in “Jump.”

Hall and Oates had massive success through the rest of the decade, and Hall had a few solo hits as well. After taking some time off apart from each other, the duo continues to tour and record.