Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hall & Oates - Rock 'n Soul Part 1

This week (October 18th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Rock ‘n Soul Part 1, a greatest hits compilation album from Daryl Hall and John Oates. This 1983 release went multi-platinum in both the US and Canada. Chart-wise, it reached number 43 in Sweden, number 26 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 16 in the UK, number 12 in Canada, number 9 in the Netherlands, number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 in New Zealand.

Side one starts with “Say It Isn’t So”, the first of two new tracks on the album. It went to number 69 in the UK, number 18 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, number 8 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance chart (with a remix by Jellybean Benitez). I’ve always liked how the instruments all cascade at the start of this one.

“Sara Smile” comes from the 1976 album Daryl Hall and John Oates. It was the duo’s first ever Top 10 hit, reaching number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It also went to number 23 on the US R&B chart, number 22 in Canada and New Zealand, and number 18 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The subject of smooth groove was Hall’s girlfriend at the time Sara Allen; they were together for almost 30 years until their break-up in 2001.

“She’s Gone” first appeared on the 1973 album Abandoned Luncheonette and was re-released as a single again in 1976 (thanks to the success of the previous track). The second time on the charts, it climbed all the way to number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This break-up song has one of those chorus lines that you just find yourself singing along too (I know I do).

The bouncy “Rich Girl” came off of the 1976 album Bigger Than Both of Us (click here for that review).

The chart topping “Kiss on My List” hails from 1980’s Voices (click here for that review).

Also from Voices comes “You Make My Dreams”. I love the high energy of this track; it always makes me want to get up and dance. For some reason, I always start to think of that scene during The Wedding Singer when this one played in the background.

The side closes with the title track hit from 1981’s Private Eyes album (click here for that review). This was a dance favorite of mine in the early 80’s, complete with the clap-along claps on the chorus.

Side two opens with the other new track. “Adult Education”, a song about a teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, hit number 63 in the UK, number 21 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 18 in Canada, and number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Jumping back to Private Eyes, we have “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”. The bass line on this one has always stood out for me. Hall has said that during the “We Are The World” recording session, Michael Jackson approached him and admitted that he lifted said bass line to use on his mega-hit “Billie Jean”.

Shift to 1982’s H2O (click here for that review), first off we have “Maneater”. I have always been a fan of this number 1 hit; the rhythm and beat are very infectious and put me in a mood to dance every time.

Next, also from 1982, is the slow-tempo of “One on One”.

The collection closes with a live version of “Wait For Me” (the original studio version appears on 1979’s X-Static). Of all the big hits on this record, this one is probably the least known for me.

The subsequent CD releases of the album added two more tracks: “Family Man” (also from H2O) and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (from Voices).

As this collection attests, Daryl Hall and John Oates were on fire from the mid-70 through the early 80’s. For the casual fan Rock ‘n Soul Part 1 is a good sampler. For a more hardcore fan like myself, it is a must have just for the two newer studio tracks that debuted here.


HERC said...

Saw Daryl & John with their tight backing band live in Decmeber 1984 on their Big Bam Boom tour. One of the most sing-along shows I have ever attended with the crowd singing along independently - the boys didn't have to hold their mics out towards the audience, it just happened organically and it was a beautiful thing.

Had been a fan of the duo since I got their Bigger Than The Both Of Us album from the RCA Record Club in early 1977. Around that same time, I came across the 45 for that album's "Rich Girl" in a sweet picture sleeve so I bought it, too.

Was immediately hooked by the first two songs on the album: the Philly soul tribute "Back Together Again" was track one, side one and it was followed by "Rich Girl". As was my style back then, I played them over and over and over again. And then I played them some more.

One day, coming in from recess, a friend and I were singing "Rich Girl" and just when I was singing the B word that rhymes with "rich" but is spelled like "witch", a teacher overheard me and I got to spend the 30 minutes immediately after school with my nose to my locker in the hallway. Why didn't my friend get in trouble? He had seen the teacher and wisely stopped singing. Sixth grade, good times.

Ended up buying most of the albums and quite a few of the 12" singles Hall & Oates issued up until 1988 but unlike you I didn't care for the two new singles on Rock N Soul Part 1. Actually, for me, it was all downhill after the phenomenal streak of 1980-1982 with Voices, Private Eyes and H2O albums.

I went back and picked up a few of their pre-1977 albums and, as I've done for countless other bands, I ended up buying all the remastered CD reissues with bonus tracks of albums I already had and even the Do What You Want, Be Who You Are box set which had a ton of unreleased stuff on it.

Was hoping you'd review this album. Thanks Martin.

mls said...

That tenor solo in One On One is one of the great pop sax solos.

This is a great compilation although I never much liked Adult Education. Top H&O albums for me are Voices and Big Bam Boom.