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Daryl Hall on his Oates partnership, being uncomfortable as a pop star and never losing his soul

Over the years, Daryl Hall has opened up to Goldmine about many things — most importantly, keeping it all centered.

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Over the years, Daryl Hall has opened up to Goldmine about many things. So, the staff pulled together some Hall quotes from the archives, centering on living in the spotlight, a special partnership with John Oates and advice on how to write a catchy pop song.



On huge success in the '80s

Daryl Hall: It was like being in the eye of a hurricane. And if I ever stepped away from the eye, I would be sucked into it. So it had its good times, its moments.

I don't know if artists talk about this a lot. But one thing is to accept and enjoy. People tend to objectify. And I'm not really big on being in the spotlight. I wasn't really comfortable being a star. So being a pop star, I certainly enjoyed the attention, but because it brought the attention to my work. These days, the music industry treats (them) like horses. They have a stable of artists. It's very much like a thoroughbred horse when you see how fast he can run before you invest in him. As for the public, people treat you sort of like 'the other.' You're 'the other.' And over the years I've sort of managed to strip myself of that.


Daryl Hall and John Oates 2009 publicity photo

Daryl Hall and John Oates 2009 publicity photo

On his relationship with John Oates

Daryl Hall: We were friends first. He was the guitarist in the band and I was the singer. We were just getting out of school, and we said 'Why don't we try sharing the stage together?' As two individuals. And it's really all about that. So that's how it went.

We’re very different personalities. One of the reasons we became friends is somehow in spite of being opposites we get along. I’m such an aggressive person and he is not. He’s a very passive, laissez-faire kind of guy and it serves him well. I think that perhaps he leads a happier life than mine because of it — certainly a less tempestuous life than I’ve lived, so it’s good for him.

The truth is, we never really wrote together. We would write together, occasionally. But not that often. It was more separately. And I write a lot more.

The balance began to shift, and it became more and more my songs. And John began to be more in the background. And that's what we're all about. And we're very comfortable. We both feel comfortable in it as far as the Hall & Oates thing goes. It's a comfortable situation. It just worked out that way.


Daryl Hall pr shot courtesy of

Daryl Hall pr shot courtesy of

Giving advice on songwriting

Daryl Hall: The only thing that comes to mind is what Paul Williams of the Temptations told me, “Don’t ever lose your soul.” I was playing him this song — which had some unusual chords in it — and he said, “That’s good man, just don’t ever lose the soul.” I’m sure people have said other things to me but that sticks in my mind right now. Thommy Bell also used to listen to my songs and comment on them. A lot of people would tell me, “keep it centered, keep it centered,” that kind of thing.