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How “big” were Hall & Oates when they were big?

crambone

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17,977
The band I am in plays an eclectic mix of covers but we do quite a few Hall & Oates tunes. I must admit I am a younger guy so I had only heard of “Maneater” before I was in this band. “I Can’t Go for That” is an earworm, at least to me.

That being said, when they were in their heyday, how “big” were Hall & Oates?
 

Bankston

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15,960
They had a string of No. 1 hits in the 80's and several multi-platinum albums. Total album sales estimated at 40 million, making them the best selling music duo in history.

Their videos were in constant rotation on MTV.

During the height of New Wave and the Second British Invasion, Hall & Oates was one of the most successful American pop acts around.

And they had G.E. Smith on guitar.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
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28,514
I would put them right around Huey Lewis and the News, above Tears for Fears, and below the Police, as far as eclectic early 80s pop rock bands go. The Police had a reggae background, Huey had a blues background, and Hall and Oates a soul background. Dare I say it, tears for fears had an art rock background.

But in the context of the late 70s and early 80s, they were still influenced by the times, and commercial success came and went accordingly.
 

Fuchsaudio

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7,744
Their stil (albeit somewhat reluctantly) still touring decent size venues and sound quite good. Neither “needs” to work, from what I’ve heard.
 

slybird

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6,479
Wikipedia says, "six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Rich Girl", "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "Out of Touch", as well as many other songs which charted in the Top 40 including the single "You Make My Dreams". In total, they had 34 chart hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 seven RIAA platinum albums, and six RIAA gold albums. Billboard magazine named them the most successful duo of the rock era, surpassing Simon & Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers."

Sounds pretty big.
 

GulfportBound

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8,251
Hall & Oates were one of the three best blue-eyed soul acts of the 1970s---but also the no-questions-asked most successful. And it spilled into the 1980s, for awhile, anyway. This is still my personal favourite by them:


The Average White Band started with a big bang thanks to their second album and its monster hit "Pick Up the Pieces," but their momentum got shot to pieces when their drummer Robbie McIntosh died of an overdose. They remained a solid live band (you should hear their live set, Person to Person) but they never again had a hit that big, though they got a big one on the R&B charts when Ben E. King joined them for an album and a good remake of one of the second album's jewels, "Keepin' It to Myself."

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes cut three smart albums with Miami Steve Van Zandt as their producer and main songwriter, but they couldn't find a hit despite a couple of excellent singles. When Epic Records dropped them after their third album (Hearts of Stone), because they hadn't proven to be big hitmakers (though their live performances usually packed the places they played), it knocked some of the wind out of their sails. Miami Steve went back to the E Street Band almost for keeps, the Jukes signed to another label, and made some serious studio missteps while showing they didn't have in-house songwriting as solid as Van Zandt's was. They were always better on stage than in the studio, as it was; it was no accident that a promo-only Epic release of a live show traded big among bootleg hunters and their subsequent official live set, Reach Up and Touch the Sky, did better than their studio sets did, though not as big as you might hope---by 1979-80, a solid soul band like the Jukes didn't have a prayer against what was going big at the time, and Hall & Oates they weren't for polished soul. But they were a great live band in the mid to late 1970s; I saw them twice and they blew the roof off the place.
 
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Matt L

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11,503
Sara Smile and Rich Girl were big hits in the ‘70s, but they became mega-huge in the early ‘80s. From about 80-86 they were massive, and in no small part due to MTV and the influence of videos. I think they would have been hits regardless, though.
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,522
By the time of Big Bam Boom, they seemed to be everywhere but then just kind of disappeared (pop culture wise). I think some management issues went poorly or something. I was surprised that there wasn't another big album from them after Big Bam Boom.
 

GulfportBound

Member
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8,251
By the time of Big Bam Boom, they seemed to be everywhere but then just kind of disappeared (pop culture wise). I think some management issues went poorly or something. I was surprised that there wasn't another big album from them after Big Bam Boom.
There was one---the live album they did, partially with former Temptations David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, at the Apollo Theater. After that they took a break, during which Daryl Hall released a solo album, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, which didn't do so well compared to what they did as a duo, and they reunited on a new recording contract with Arista and delivered Oh, Yeah! to double platinum. The bad news: only one single from the album got near the top of the charts, an indication that their hitmaking days were starting to look smaller in the rearview mirror, which was confirmed further when the subsequent Change of Season---in which they moved away considerably from the soul style that really made them---went gold but yielded no top ten hit. They also suffered a huge blow when Janna Allen, their periodic songwriting collaborator, died of leukemia in 1993.
 




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