One half of the successful musical duo ‘Hall & Oates’, John Oates is a popular American singer, guitarist, songwriter and record producer. His partner Daryl Hall was the lead singer while Oates was the guitarist. However, Oates often doubled as the songwriter for the duo penning several chartbusters. Together with Hall, Oates produced hits such as ‘Rich Girl’, ‘Kiss on My List’, ‘Private Eyes’, ‘I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)’, ‘Maneater’ and ‘Out of Touch’. The successful pair of Hall & Oates registered 34 super hits on the US Billboard Hot 100. They had seven RIAA platinum albums and six RIAA gold albums. Hall & Oates came to be known as the most successful artists of the rock era. Separately, Oates also recorded singles such as ‘How Does It Feel to Be Back’ and ‘You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin’ both of which went on to feature in the ‘Hot 100’ list. Billboard magazine once named Hall & Oates as the greatest music duo of all time. The song ‘Shape of Things to Come’ from the 1986 film ‘About Last Night’ was written by Oates. He also co-worked on the song ‘Electric Blue’ which was produced by the Australian band ‘Icehouse’. He was involved in the writing, singing and producing aspects of the song ‘Love is Fire’ created by the Canadian group ‘The Parachute Club’ which featured amongst the top 30 hits in Canada.
Childhood & Early Life
John William Oates was born on April 7, 1948, in New York City to Ann De Palma and Al Oates. His mother was Italian while his father was half-English and half-Gibraltarian.
He was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he first started singing and playing the guitar as a little boy.
He attended the North Penn High School and recorded his first single ‘I Need Your Love’ for Crimson Records in 1966. After completing his schooling in the same year, he enrolled himself into Temple University where he met his future bandmate, Daryl Hall.
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When Oates and Hall first met at the Adelphi Ballroom in Philadelphia in 1967 Daryl Hall was a senior at the Temple University and they were both leading their separate music groups. Oates band was called the Temptones while Hall’s band was known as the Masters. They first came face to face while in a service elevator that they both had taken to escape a gunfire opened during a band competition.
The two men bonded over music and performed in numerous college bands before they officially paired together as ‘Hall & Oates’, in 1970.
John Oates and Daryl Hall signed up with Atlantic Records in 1972. The duo had difficulty defining their genre of music as they kept trying different genres such as folk, soul, rock and pop.
The early albums ‘Whole Oats’, ‘Abandoned Luncheonette’ and ‘War Babies’ did not get the desired success. But the song ‘She's Gone’ from ‘Abandoned Luncheonette’ became a huge success and stood at number one on R&B charts in 1974.
Together, Hall & Oates have released 21 albums and have sold 80 million records all over the globe, making them the most successful duo in the pop-rock industry.
After spending more than three decades in the music industry, Oates released his first solo album ‘Phunk Shui’ in 2002. His next solo albums ‘1000 Miles of Life’, ‘Mississippi Mile’ and ‘Good Road to Follow’ came out in 2008, 2011, and 2013, respectively.
Oates, along with Jamie Cullum, contributed to the song ‘Greatest Mistake’ by Handsome Boy Modeling School that came out in 2004 album, White People.
On a show playing medley of The Bird and the Bee songs and classic Hall & Oates music, Oates made a guest appearance and played alongside the indie rock band ‘The Bird and the Bee’ in March 2010. In the same year, he started ‘7908: The Aspen Songwriters Festival’ at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO.
Oates released the single ‘High Maintenance’ featuring pop group Hot Chelle Rae, in 2013.
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Oates memoir ‘Change of Seasons’ co-written with Chris Epting, released in April 2017 and went on to become a bestseller on Amazon. It was also well-received by the critics.
His solo album ‘Arkansas’ released in February 2018 was his tribute to the ‘Natural State’. This album includes songs from several genres such as blues, jazz, and gospel music of the '20s.
Awards & Achievements
In 2004, John Oates was officially inducted into the ‘Songwriters Hall of Fame’.
Oates was inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ as a member of Hall & Oates in 2014.
Hall & Oates received their ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ star on September 2, 2016.
Personal Life & Legacy
John Oates first married Ford model, Nancy Hunter, in 1983 and they lived together in New York City. However, Nancy was reportedly tired of living in her husband’s shadow so the couple eventually separated in 1988.
Oates then married Aimee Pommier in 1994. In 1996, the couple was blessed with a baby boy whom they named Tanner. Oates lives with his family in either Woody Creek, Colorado or Nashville, Tennessee.
Both John Oates and Daryl Hall disliked the name ‘Hall & Oates’. Oates once stated in an interview that all the albums they have recorded have always had the name ‘Daryl Hall and John Oates’ but people do not take notice of that.
Oates revealed that whenever the duo had their creative differences they would try using both ways and would select the one that sounded better.
In order to refrain from falling for temptations, Oates ensured that his family travelled with him on all his tours. His son was home-schooled.
Daryl Hall had written the song ‘She's Gone’ for first wife, Bryna Lublin. The song was also inspired by an incident that happened with Oates where he was being stood up on a date on New Year's Eve.
In 2014, Oates made a guest appearance as the character named ‘Dirty D’ in the TV show ‘Garfunkel and Oates’.