Singer and songwriter Daryl Hall is currently in the middle of his first solo tour in a decade, taking a break from longtime musical partner John Oates. He’s having a great time on the road playing not only some of Hall and Oates’ famous hits, but also his own songs outside of the duo’s music.
“People love it,” he says. Newsweek about the tour. “The whole thing is very fluid. I mix a lot of different things and add other things too. It just works. I really like doing it.”
The tour, which continues through May 22 in the United States, coincides with the recent release of Before after (Sony Legacy), a retrospective of Hall’s solo music since his debut album sacred songs (1980) to his final studio album Laugh Cry (2011). The 30-track collection showcases the singer’s eclectic musical range.
“That’s the idea,” says Hall. “I am not a one-dimensional artist.”
With Before afterthe singer-songwriter felt the time was right to release a compilation of his own music.
“I wanted to post what I call my alternate history,” Hall says. “Everyone knows me for what I do under the name ‘Hall and Oates’, and there’s no reason people can’t know what I do under my own name because I care. as well. He has his own story and all of his own stories. I just thought, ‘If not now, when?’ That’s what I said.”
Several notable songs from Hall’s solo release are included on Before after, including “Dreamtime”, “Foolish Pride”, “Can’t Stop Dreaming”, and “I’m in a Philly Mood”. The new set also includes six previously unreleased tracks recorded from Live from Daryl’s house, Hall’s long-running web/TV series. Among them is a haunting and eloquent cover of the Eurythmics classic “Here Comes the Rain Again,” performed with Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart, whom Hall has known for many years.
“It was sort of an afterthought because Dave was appearing as a guest on the show,” Hall recalled. “At the time, I had a grand piano. And I said, ‘Why not sit in there and just play ‘Here Comes the Rain Again’?” And we did. It was a first take, like a lot of things I do on the show. We played it, and it sounded really, really good. I like to play it now on the road. And in Nashville, Dave actually came on stage and played it with me.”
Another of the most recent tracks on Before after is Hall’s duet with Todd Rundgren on the latter’s ballad “Can We Still Be Friends”. The two had previously worked together when Rundgren produced Hall and Oates’ 1974 album war babies.
“He’s done a lot of things with me over the years, one-off things, different singles or different songs,” Hall explains. “I have a long relationship with him too. ‘Can We Still Be Friends’ has always been one of my favorites. I have a kind of personal connection to him and it’s just fun to sing it with him. He’s such a great songwriter.”
Additionally, for this set, Hall unearths an old early 1960s Ruby and the Romantics’ soul hit “Our Day Will Come.”
“I was a kid when it came out on the radio,” he says of this track, which was also recorded from Live from Daryl’s house. “I always thought it was a bit out of place at that time. When you listen to the songs that were playing on the radio at that time, that song really stood out as something unique. I thought it was worth putting on the album because it’s a bit of a departure but somehow it holds up I really think it’s a great classic song.
Before after contains some tracks from Hall’s first solo album, from the 1980s sacred songs, produced by guitarist Robert Fripp of British progressive rock band King Crimson. First recorded in 1977, the rock art of sacred songs was a notable departure from the mainstream pop that Hall and Oates were known for at the time.
“I remember meeting him for the first time, I think, in Canada,” Hall recalled of Fripp. “I think he came to a show. I guess we had a mutual friend and he came backstage and had seen the show and we were talking. We hit it off immediately.
“Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in England so I saw him all the time. So we decided to work together and we were like, ‘Why don’t we try this?’ It’s a quirky idea but not really because we have a certain musical sensibility. We come from different backgrounds but somehow it works together. I made two albums with Robert and sacred songs being one of them, and I loved doing them.”
sacred songsThe radical sound would have ended up with RCA Records, Hall’s label at the time, shelving the album until three years later, when Hall and Oates were enjoying a commercial comeback with the Voice album.
“People didn’t know what they wanted from me,” says Hall. “They just thought they knew, and people didn’t really understand me at that time. I did some things that worked and some things that didn’t work, and the ones that worked were the ones they did. started tagging me. I definitely had that in me, and it’s all part of my music library in my brain. It’s a language that I speak.
Six years after the release of sacred songsHall spun into a more accessible rock effort with Three hearts in the happy ending machine, which Eurythmics’ Stewart co-produced; it produced Hall’s solo Top 10 single “Dreamtime”.
“The musicality of it all and just the thrill of us working together and clicking so well,” Hall recalled of making this record. “We laughed a lot. I mean, David and I have a real relationship, and a lot of it is based on humor. That’s what I think. I brought a lot of people I knew to this era-Joni [Mitchell] and Bob Geldof and all those sorts of people were on the record just like the drop-ins. When I think back to this record, it sounds so good. David did an excellent production job.”
Since then, Hall has oscillated between his solo career and recording and performing with Oates, who is also currently touring alone. Over the past 15 years, Hall’s profile has risen further with the success of his Live from Daryl’s house show, which first started on the web and later aired on TV.
Over the course of the series, Hall and his band performed with special guest musicians such as Joe Walsh, Tommy Shaw of Styx, Smokey Robinson, Nick Lowe and Shelby Lynne. In retrospect, the series somewhat foreshadowed the trend of music podcasts.
“Nobody was doing it,” Hall says of his show, which he plans to restart. “I definitely led the way. It’s hard to remember how sparse the field was when this show started. There was no internet entertainment. People weren’t using the internet for entertainment. They were using it to inform themselves and communicate. To do it for entertainment was completely my idea.”
Well Named, Before after was released the same year as Hall and Oates’ debut album, whole oats, will be 50 years old. As he revisits his past works on his current tour, Hall is already looking to the future with a new solo record on the horizon.
“I have about eight leads,” he says. “I worked with Dave Stewart. We spent a month doing it, and some of the songs are amazing. I’m just waiting to release it and finish it. Year the album will be finished. I’m not sure when I’m going to take it out, but somewhere around.