Philly Blue-eyed soul duo Hall & Oates have been eligible for Hall of Fame induction for more than 15 years, but on Thursday night at Barclays Center, the group that blended pop, Philly soul, jazz and New Wave for seven platinum albums finally got their due. Inducted by fellow Philly native Questlove, who let it be known that “Hall and Oates will cure any known illness,” the group performed funky renditions of “She’s Gone,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” and “You Make My Dreams.” Rolling Stone caught up with the duo after the ceremony to talk about their induction and longevity secrets, but was jovially interrupted by a music industry legend.
How does it feel to be inducted?
John Oates: The buildup was too long for my taste [laughs]. I didn’t think about it too much. Once we knew we were in, it was exciting to get nominated and exciting to get in. And then it was just counting the days like, “Wow, it’s going to be April. Okay.”
Daryl Hall: We’re both so busy together and with separate projects that I had to fit this in, if you want the truth. But it means that we’re part of an important time in history. The late 20th century had just enough communication abilities to allow superstar-ness and communality to happen. It was a musical renaissance that rivals the visual one that happened in the 1400s. It’ll never happen again, at least not in any way I could conceive of it. I’m just glad to be part of it.
Oates: We were born at the exact right time in the late Forties. We recall music that wasn’t rock & roll, like big band music. We were old and musical enough that when rock & roll began, we immediately tuned into it. We didn’t pick up our guitars at 16 and start playing because of the Beatles. We were singers from birth. We see ourselves as lifelong musicians.
[Veteran concert promoter Ron Delsener enters the room]
Ron Delsener: What the fuck are you doing here? Go home.
Oates: We have responsibilities. See these trophies? Look at these fuckin’ trophies we got. We’re in, dude.
Delsener: I remember the first time you played the Palladium and graduated to the Garden. That was in the late Seventies. It goes like this. [Snaps finger]
Oates: [Laughs] So anyway, our decisions, from the very earliest days, were predicated based on what would allow us to keep making music. We even thought, “If this folds or doesn’t go well, there’s still a way that we can keep playing.” We had three or four years in the Seventies where there was nothing happening. We used that time to form a band and went from playing arenas back to clubs and rebuilt our entire thing. The net result was we produced ourselves and made the kind of music we wanted to make.
What’s the secret to a long career?
Hall: We’re probably the only duo in history that’s still friends. Even the Everly Brothers didn’t like each other.
Oates: We give each other personal space and we both respect each other’s individuality. There was never an issue with that. Now that we both embraced solo careers, I think we’ve grown closer. Now we’re able to appreciate what we created together and still enjoy doing it. It’s like visiting a great museum: Your feet start to get tired after the fourth floor and you want to go away and then when you come back, you’re really excited to see it again.
Any other thoughts on the night?
Oates: The speeches were way too long.
Hall: It was ridiculous. Can I just say, you don’t give each member of a 12-piece band 20 minutes. You don’t do that. That’s bad planning.
Additional reporting by Kory Grow
Questlove Inducts Hall & Oates Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame