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Hall & Oates at Joe Louis Arena, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Forty-five years ago Daryl Hall & John Oates released their debut album, “Whole Oates.” And the rest, as they say, is history.

In a big way.

The Philadelphia-formed pair is the third most successful music duo of all time, with 34 Billboard Hot 100 hits -- 16 of them in the Top 10 -- and eight platinum-or-better albums. They’ve been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame and last year received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hall & Oates don’t write or record together anymore. Their last album was 2006’s “Home For Christmas.” But they still get together to tour, and there’s always an audience for their body of timeless greatest hits such as “Sara Smile,” “Rich Girl,” “Kiss On My List,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” “Maneater” and many more.

• Though Hall, 70, isn’t one for anniversaries, he’s happy to continue playing Hall & Oates music -- probably forever. “There’s this body of work that people really care about,” he explains by phone from his home in Pennsylvania. “That’s really what it’s all about. That’s why we do it. At this point we don’t make new music together, but we have all these songs -- I call them our children -- and people want to hear them, so we play them. It’s pretty much as simple as that. People pay us money to go there and do that, and we do but then we go out and do other things on our own.”

• Having played their songs so many times, Hall and Oates are using their current tour to change things up a bit. “I’ve been off the road for a little while, and it gave me time to sort of rethink some things musically,” Hall says. “I think the show is going to be more diverse, texturally. Instead of just that bang, bang, bang, song after song energy, there’s going to be more room for the songs to breathe. The arrangements are changing a little bit. I’m doing part of the show on grand piano. The songs are going to be familiar; It’s going to be the music everyone wants to hear, but it’s going to be presented in a slightly different way. It’s just more heartfelt as opposed to being aggressive -- that’s the best way I can put it.”

• Hall & Oates 2016 summer tour package included Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings -- the group’s last tour before Jones’ death from cancer in November. “Sharon Jones was an incredible human being,” Hall says. “I never knew anybody that was like her, with all the things that happened to her. She had such a fantastic optimism and energy and she was such a nice, happy, energetic up person all of the time. She was in her last days and her energy ... I could never have done what she did. It was mind-blowing what she did, and she did it until the very end. That’s what motivated her. She was really one of a kind.”

• Hall is currently recording his next solo album, his first since 2011’s “Laughing Down Crying,” for a 2018 release. “I’m still working on it,” he says. “I’m finishing it up in August, and it should be out probably the beginning of next year. It’s gritty and funky and very heartfelt. There’s a lot of gospel. It’s got a bit of a southern influence, but with my signature melodies and all that. And it’s very raw. I’m really happy with it.”

• Like hundreds of other musicians, Hall backed Chuck Berry during the late rock icon’s long career, playing piano for him during the late ’60s oldies show at the Philadelphia Spectrum. “Every musician of my generation that ever was a sideman has a Chuck Berry story of course -- and it’s always the same story,” Hall says. “He wouldn’t play until he got paid up front. You had to give him the money in cash or he wouldn’t walk on stage. Then as a player he changed tempos constantly within the songs. He would start a song in one tempo and it would just go up and down and all over the play. To try to keep up with him was a challenge -- and then of course he would look at you like there was something wrong with you if you couldn’t pull it off. He always stood out as being kind of a character. And hard to deal with. But great, too.”

• If You Go: Hall & Oates and Tears For Fears perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at Joe Louis Arena, 19 Yzerman Drive, Detroit. Tickets are $25-$129.50. Call 313-471-6606 or visit olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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