5 Hall & Oates Songs Showcasing John Oates’ Singing

John Oates, one half of the celebrated pop duo Hall & Oates, celebrated his 76th birthday on April 7, 2024. Oates and his longtime collaborator Daryl Hall have been in the news recently because they’re embroiled in a legal battle over Oates’ desire to sell his portion of the duo’s music publishing.

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Meanwhile, the catalog of songs Hall and Oates have created together have yielded many enduring hits, and a variety of other great tunes. While Hall is considered the duo’s main lead singer and has been slightly more prolific as a songwriter, Oates also has made major contributions as a songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist.

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In honor of Oates’ birthday, here’s a look at five noteworthy songs by the duo that his songwriting and singing talents:

“She’s Gone” (1973)

Oates co-wrote the duo’s classic early hit “She’s Gone” with Hall. He also and sings lead on the verses and the low harmony throughout the rest of the song. In addition, Oates contributed the memorable guitar solo heard before Hall belts out the final chorus.

The soulful breakup song first appeared on Hall and Oates’ second album, Abandoned Luncheonette, but only reached No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was initially released as a single om 1973. After the duo scored its first major hit in 1976 with “Sara Smile,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100, “She’s Gone” was re-released. The tune then ascended to No. 7 on the chart.

[RELATED: John Oates Dishes on Fractured Partnership with Daryl Hall Amid Legal Battle]

“Back Together Again” (1977)

By the times Hall and Oates released their fifth studio album, Bigger Than Both of Us, in 1976, the duo’s star was on the rise. The album featured their first No. 1 hit, “Rich Girl,” as well as a song written and with lead vocals by Oates called “Back Together Again” that also became a hit.

“Back Together Again” was as funky soul tune that sounded like the group was channeling Curtis Mayfield. The single peaked at No. 28 on the Hot 100.

“How Does It Feel to Be Back” (1980)

Oates wrote and delivers lead vocals on “How Does It Feel to Be Back,” a melodic pop-rock gem that kicks off the duo’s 1980 album Voices. Oates also plays the distinctively jangly 12-string electric guitar on the track.

The song was released as a single, and reached No. 30 on the Hot 100.

“Mano a Mano” (1981)

Hall and Oates’ 1981 album Private Eyes was the duo’s most successful studio effort to date, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. The album featured two No. 1 hits, the title track and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” the latter of which was co-written by Oates.

Private Eyes also included the song “Mano a Mano,” which Oates composed by himself and was featured on lead vocals. The tune is soulfully grooving rock track, with a catchy Latin-flavored chorus, with a positive message about unity.

“Cold Dark and Yesterday” (1984)

Hall & Oates’ 1984 album Big Bam Boom featured one of the biggest hits of the duo’s career, “Maneater,” another chart-topping single that Oates co-wrote.

The album also included one song solely written by Oates, “Cold Dark and Yesterday.” The catchy, danceable tune offers up a synth-driven New Wave sound that was ever present on MTV at that time.

More About Hall & Oates

Hall and Oates were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. While they last released an album together in 2006, the duo continued to tour until late 2022. Any future Hall & Oates tour currently seems unlikely, as Hall sued Oates in 2023 to block John from selling his portion of Whole Oates enterprises, the company that manages the duo’s music publishing.

Meanwhile, in recent years, Oates has been focusing on his solo career, releasing a variety of albums, EPs, and singles. Among his latest releases is a song called “Get Your Smile On,” which arrived in December 2023. He currently has about 18 solo concerts lined up in 2024, through an August 24 show in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Tickets for Oates’ concerts are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

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