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The driving force behind the biggest-selling duo of all time, Daryl Hall established himself as one of the finest soul singers of his generation as one half of Hall & Oates before embarking on an experimental solo career which rarely received the credit it deserved. A regular on the '60s Philly soul scene, Hall started his career as a session musician but eventually took center stage when he forged a partnership with guitarist John Oates that would go on to produce six U.S. number one singles and a string of multi-million selling albums thanks to a slick AOR radio-friendly sound. Hall's solo output failed to reach the same commercial heights but was undeniably intriguing, tackling everything from art-rock to jazz over the course of several under-rated albums recorded with the likes of Robert Fripp and Dave Stewart.
Born in Pottstown, PA in 1946 to a professional singer father and vocal coach mother, Hall inevitably grew up surrounded by music and began writing and recording his own material while still at high school. During his time studying music at his home state's Temple University, Hall formed The Temptones, a vocal harmony group who recorded a handful of singles for Arctic Records, and subsequently became a regular fixture on the Philly soul scene, working as a session musician for Chubby Checker and song-writing team Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. In 1967, Hall met younger fellow student John Oates at a Five Stairsteps show and following Hall's brief stint in Gulliver, a short-lived rock band also featuring New York singer-songwriter Tim Moore, the pair joined forces to form Hall & Oates three years later.
The pair's original folk-rock sound initially struggled to connect with audiences and their first three albums (Whole Oats, Abandoned Luncheonette, and War Babies) failed to produce a hit single. But after moving from Atlantic Records to RCA, the duo finally broke through to the mainstream with 1975's Daryl Hall & John Oates, a hook-laden blend of blue-eyed-soul, pop and soft rock. Two years later, they scored their first chart-topper with "Rich Girl" and by the end of the decade, they'd chalked up a total of ten U.S. Hot 100 hits. But keen to experiment further, Hall also headed into the studio with King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp in 1977 to record Sacred Songs, a solo album notable for its use of the Frippertronics tape loop system which, due to record company concerns over its lack of commercial appeal, only saw the light of day in 1980.
Hall & Oates then went onto dominate the early '80s, reaching number one with "Kiss On My List," "Private Eyes," "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" and "Maneater," while parent albums Voices, Private Eyes and H2O also found their way into several million homes. 1984's "Out Of Touch" took their tally of chart-toppers to six but after the Recording Industry Association of America announced that they had overtaken the Everly Brothers as the most successful duo in rock history, the group went on a self-imposed hiatus. Hall then co-wrote Diana Ross' hit "Swept Away" with Arthur Baker and resumed his solo career with 1986's Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine, collaborating with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, regular cohort T-Bone Walker and his long-term partner Sara Allen on ten experimental tracks including his only U.S. solo Top 10 single, "Dreamtime."
Following Hall & Oates' return with 1988's Ooh Yeah, Hall continued to balance the band's career with a variety of solo projects, including 1993's jazz-soul-oriented third album Soul Alive, 1994's official theme to the USA World Cup, "Gloryland," and 1996's Can't Stop Dreaming, a Japanese-only LP which eventually made its way to American stores seven years later. In 2005, Hall was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, forcing him to cut short a Hall & Oates summer tour. But after managing to bring his illness under control, he returned to the spotlight with the pair's 2006 festive release, Home For Christmas. In 2007, he launched Live From Daryl's House, a monthly webcast recorded on his estate in the Catskills which saw him jam with both veteran performers (Smokey Robinson, Nick Lowe) and relative newcomers (Jason Mraz, Plain White T's).
Having previously appeared together on an episode of the series, Hall and disco revivalists Chromeo then took to the stage for a special late-night set at Bonnaroo in 2010. A year later, Hall released his fifth solo effort, Laughing Down Crying, an eclectic affair dedicated to his best friend and bass player T-Bone Wolk, who died of a heart attack just four days into its recording. A guest appearance on dubstep duo Nero's single, "Reaching Out," introduced his soulful vocals to a younger generation, as did performances with Oates on "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16) and "The Voice" (NBC, 2011- ). In 2014, the duo were inducted alongside fellow first-time nominees Nirvana, Peter Gabriel and Linda Ronstadt into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
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