Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists

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Whoa-oh-oh, listen to the music: The best concerts of 2019

Generally, there’s no such thing as a bad concert, and 2019 was no exception. While my criteria for what’s constitutes a good concert experience changes a bit from show to show — the location of my seat, the ticket price, whether I got to go to the meet-and-greet, the quality of the photos I get — I can usually find a lot of things I like about a show. 

I couldn’t limit the list to the Top 10 shows of 2019, so I made it Top 11 this year. Really, all the concerts were very good, it’s just that these were just a little bit better.

11. Steely Dan — The Met/Philly (Nov. 9) — There was a lot right and a few things wrong for me at this show. First and foremost, the music was brilliant, Donald Fagen can still deliver the goods, and his band is nothing short … Read more

The backstory behind the hit ‘Sara Smile’ by Hall & Oates

Daryl Hall was living on the Upper East Side of New York in 1975 when he and John Oates began producing material for the “Daryl Hall & John Oates” album – which would come to be known as “The Silver Album” because of its glam rock style cover. Living with Hall at the time was his girlfriend, Sara Allen.

Oates had introduced Allen to Hall a few years earlier. According to Oates, he had met a flight attendant – called “stewardesses” in those days – and a girlfriend of hers on the streets of New York and had struck up a conversation with them. One of those flight attendants was Sara Allen.

Oates eventually took that chance meeting and turned it into a song titled “Las Vegas Turnaround” that appeared on the duo’s second album, “Abandoned Luncheonette,” released in 1973. He also eventually introduced Hall to Allen.

By 1975, Allen … Read more

Hall & Oates: First-hand perspective on how their roles evolved within the band

Seeing Daryl Hall and John Oates headline the inaugural Hoagie Nation Festival in Philly May 27 reminded me of a portion of the last interview I did with Oates. It was about how each of their roles in the band had evolved throughout their careers.

There is a perspective out there – one with which I vehemently disagree – that Oates is some sort of second banana to Hall. There was even a short-lived television show called “Garfunkel and Oates” that is described as being about “two famous rock-and-roll second bananas.” (As an aside, Oates himself played a porn shop clerk in one episode and there was a hilarious off-color running joke on the show that referenced Oates’ famous 1970s mustache.)

In a dozen interviews over the past decade, I’ve talked to Oates about almost everything Hall & Oates and everything solo Oates. He’s what I’d describe as the perfect … Read more

From Bob to Bruce: The Best Concerts of 2016

There are many aspects that make a good concert experience. Primarily of course, is the music. How does the artist and the band sound? Is what I’m hearing on stage like what I hear on the vinyl?

Maybe we all have different criteria, though. I am particularly fond of hearing an artist sing the hits live. I want see and hear Hall & Oates sing “She’s Gone” and “Sara Smile”; I want to see and hear Brian Wilson sing “Surfer Girl”; I want to personally witness Elton John sing “Rocket Man”; I want to be in the stadium and experience “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.

As a music writer, there are several other aspects of a concert that add to the experience for me. Oftentimes, I interview the artist and write a story for my media group advancing the show. Was the interview a pleasant experience and did I … Read more

Hall & Oates concert delivers a few Philly surprises to the Philly faithful

Daryl Hall and John Oates are very good in concert. But when they go off the script a little, they’re even better.

That’s what happened at the July 10 show at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, N.J. Even though the venue is across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, this was clearly a Philly show with a Philly vibe by the Philly area natives.

And the evening featured a couple of really cool surprises for the Philly faithful, which Hall promised at the beginning of the show.

We know a Hall & Oates concert will include all the hits. And the setlist reflected that. H&O opened with “Maneater,” a No. 1 single in 1982, I think mostly to just get it out of the way. Although it’s a hugely popular song with the fans and gets everybody up on their feet right from the get-go, Oates is on the record in … Read more

Hall & Oates christen new Philadelphia Fillmore in true Philly style

The reality of a Hall & Oates show for me is this: Daryl and John could come out on stage, stand on their heads and play polka music on accordions and I’d be happy with it.

For the record, there is no accordion in the H&O band. This is probably a good thing, although I have no doubt that Charlie DeChant could play one if asked. (But for a moment, just ponder what “Kiss on My List” might sound like on an accordion. Or . . . maybe not.)

So this will not be an unbiased report on the opening show of the new Philadelphia Fillmore concert venue, which starred Philly’s own Hall & Oates, on Thursday, Oct. 1.

The original Fillmore was an iconic venue in San Francisco in the late 1960s that became the focal point of the psychedelic music scene of that era. Back in the day, … Read more

Temple University needs to be schooled on the finer points of Hall & Oates

In my most recent interview with John Oates, he shared the story about what inspired he and Daryl Hall to name their seventh studio album “Along The Red Ledge” in 1978.

The story of making that album and the music on it will be detailed in The Vinyl Dialogues Volume II, which will be out later this year.

But the inspiration for the title had come to John a decade or so earlier, in a literature class at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Hall & Oates fans likely know that both artists went to Temple.

In fact, I just assumed most music fans in the greater Philadelphia area, and possibly the entire Northeast, were aware that the two met at Temple.

Certainly Temple University is well aware of two of its most famous students, right?

Well . . . sort of.

My stepson is in the process of narrowing down his … Read more

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