Inside Daryl Hall And John Oates' Complicated Relationship

Daryl Hall and John Oates each make up one half of the musical duo Hall & Oates. Though they have been around since the 1970s, the famous pair have often had a rocky relationship behind the scenes. Hall and Oates first met in 1967 and started making music together three years later, per Variety. During their time as a recording duo, they have achieved six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and spawned countless hits like "You Make My Dreams" and "Rich Girl" as well as, of course, "Maneater."

Speaking to Goldmine Magazine, Hall described how the pair came to collaborate musically. "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 ... We're very different personalities. One of the reasons we became friends is somehow in spite of being opposites we get along." Hall also mentioned how he began to write more over time and how Oates was happy to be "in the background." However, their dynamic seems to have shifted during their long and successful career.

The pair have recorded a lot of music together

Daryl Hall and John Oates have continued to record together since the 1970s, releasing 18 studio albums and several more live and compilation albums during the course of their career. As of 2023, their last album, titled "Home for Christmas," was released in 2006. They haven't put out any new music for almost two decades, but in 2021 Hall spoke to Vulture about how he and Oates have managed to keep their partnership going for over 50 years. 

"We're both very individual people in every way. And we don't step on each other's toes. And we allow any kind of freedom that one would need," he shared. "There's never been any kind of feeling of competition ... We never went that route. We have a pretty casual relationship. That's what I got to say. It's more like brothers. You know your brother. You don't see your brother that often. You just have a casual relationship over a period of years." Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 2022, Hall also seemed to make fun of the constant speculation surrounding his friendship with Oates, mocking how people assumed they must be at odds if they were not always working together. 

Things came to a head in 2023

However, Daryl Hall also seemed to resent what his partnership with John Oates represented. "Everything you do is juxtaposed against another person," Hall told the Los Angeles Times. "Try doing that sometime. I don't want to use the word "emasculating," because that's male, but it takes away your individuality." Hall's annoyance at this lack of individuality could be why he hasn't worked together musically with Oates for a long time. He once again mentioned Oates on an episode of "Club Random with Bill Maher," saying, "He's my business partner. He's not my creative partner. We made records called Hall & Oates together, but we've always been very separate and that's a really important thing for me." 

Oates additionally clarified that the pair aren't close anymore. In 2023, he told The Big Takeover, "I think we both have grown apart professionally and personally. I think we both want to do something else." Then, in November 2023, Hall filed a lawsuit against Oates. As reported by Philadelphia City Life, the lawsuit falls under the "contact/debt" category, though no further details have been released. Hall was also granted a restraining order against Oates, insinuating that their tenuous relationship has soured.