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Archive for July, 2011

Repeating the Same Old Lines

Hall & Oates is one of my all time favorite bands. I’ve heard people refer to Hall & Oats as a “guilty pleasure”. I don’t have any guilt when I say that I love Hall & Oates. This duo, popular in the 1980’s, is one of the greatest R&B and Soul duos of our time. Hall & Oates have six number one singles and six platinum albums to their credit. I could go on and on about Hall & Oates and my favorite tracks but what I want to share with you are some Hall & Oates covers. Hall & Oates have successfully covered a number of tunes, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” made popular by The Righteous Brothers in the 1960s, for example. However, what I want to share with you today are some classic Hall & Oates songs that have been covered by other artists.

Rock N' Soul Part 1
One of the first pieces of real adult music I ever “owned” was Hall & Oates – Rock ‘N Soul Part 1 on cassette tape as it’s shown here. I think, I can remember convincing my Mom to purchase the tape at a local drug store after we got a car with a cassette tape deck. Our old car only had an 8-Track deck. I remember listening to this tape on both a portable battery powered tape player/recorder as well as a few different knock off Walkman players. Rock N’ Soul Part 1 is a compilation album of greatest hits released in 1983. I was in the 4th grade when this album was released so Hall & Oates music has been with me for a long time.

In addition to the greatest hits, the singles for both “Adult Education” and “Say it Isn’t So” were released as new tracks on this album. “Say it Isn’t So”, the first single from this album reached number 2 on the charts in November of 1983 and remained there for a total of 34 weeks. “Adult Education”, only made it to number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1984.

Okay enough nostalgia, let’s move on to some of the great Hall & Oates tunes that have been covered by other artists. Looking at my iTunes music collection I have four different covers of “Sara Smile” in addition to the Hall & Oates original. Artists covering “Sara Smile” include After 7, The Bird and the Bee, Joan Osborne, and Jimmy Wayne. Both After 7 and Joan Osborne keep the track squarely in the realm of R&B. Though these two covers retain the rhythm and blues / soul feeling of the original, each artist delivers their own unique and interesting alterations. Jimmy Wayne, a country artist, released his own twist on “Sara Smile” in 2009. The Bird and The Bee probably have the most intriguing interpretation of the song. Released in 2010, The Bird and The Bee’s cover of “Sara Smile” has the slightest hint of an electronic sort of chill vibe to it, which I find quite pleasing.

Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates

The Bird and The Bee’s 2010 release entitled Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates is a complete album of Hall & Oates covers, well almost. The first track on the album titled, “Heard It On the Radio” is actually an original tune which in part explains the importance of Hall & Oates music in the eyes of the band. It serves as a great introduction to this tribute album. For me, the standout tracks on this album are “I Can’t Go For That”, “Private Eyes” and the track I’ve been talking about “Sara Smile”. I also find The Bird and The Bee’s cover of “One on On” unique and unusual with it’s combination of both airy and buzzing noise synth sounds. If you’re a fan of Hall & Oates you owe it to yourself to check out this album. I realize that it might not be for everyone but, I appreciate these interpretations of some great Hall & Oates recordings.

Okay I want to finish up this post with something I’ve done before, a top five list. This time it’s my top five most-liked covers of Hall & Oates tunes of course. In this list I’m not going to repeat any artists. So here we go…

5. “Rich Girl” by Nina Simone – 1978
4. “She’s Gone” by Tavares – 1974
3. “Sara Smile” by After 7 – 1997
2. “I Can’t Go for That” by The Bird and The Bee – 2010
1. “Sara Smile” by Joan Osborne – 2007

I think I would be remiss if I didn’t also include my all time top five Hall & Oates originals. Choosing just five is going to be tough but, here goes.

5. “Wait for Me” [Live Version] from Rock ‘N Soul Part 1 – 1983
4. “Kiss on My List” from the album Voices – 1980
3. “Private Eyes” from the album Private Eyes – 1981
2. “Rich Girl” from the album Bigger Than Both of Us – 1976
1. “You Make My Dreams” from the album Voices – 1980

What about you; are you a fan of Hall & Oates? Do you have a different top five you would like to share?