Private Eyes (Hall & Oates album)
|Studio album by Hall & Oates|
|Released||September 1, 1981|
|Genre||Pop, rock, R&B, New Wave, blue-eyed soul, dance-rock|
|Length||47:47 (Original 1981 release)|
|Producer||Daryl Hall, John Oates, Neil Kernon, Alex Harrison|
|Hall & Oates chronology|
Private Eyes is the tenth studio album from Daryl Hall and John Oates, released in 1981. The album includes two #1 hits—the title track, "Private Eyes" and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", as well as the top ten hit "Did It in a Minute". "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" also spent a week at the top of the R&B charts—a rare accomplishment for a white band.
Background and writing
Though the act had hit the upper reaches of the Billboard charts with "She's Gone", "Sara Smile", and "Rich Girl", the group didn't return to major mainstream success until they released a cover version of The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" on its 1980 album, Voices. The heavy airplay eventually led to the duo's first Number One hit in four years, the Voices release, "Kiss on My List" in early 1981.
As the liner notes to the 2004 Private Eyes reissue indicate, it was while Daryl Hall and John Oates were recording the follow-up album in their adopted hometown of New York City, during the spring of 1981, that "Kiss on My List" went to number one in three trade publications. Determined to follow up on their success, the duo produced Private Eyes assisted by their co-producer Neil Kernon.
- Side A
- "Private Eyes" (Sara Allen, Janna Allen, Daryl Hall, Warren Pash) – 3:39
- "Looking for a Good Sign" (Hall) – 3:57
- "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" (S. Allen, Hall, John Oates) – 5:09
- "Mano a Mano" (Oates) – 3:56
- "Did It in a Minute" (S. Allen, J. Allen, Hall) – 3:39
- Side One
- "Head Above Water" (S. Allen, Hall, Oates) – 3:36
- "Tell Me What You Want" (S. Allen, Hall) – 3:51
- "Friday Let Me Down" (S. Allen, Hall, Oates) – 3:35
- "Unguarded Minute" (S. Allen, Hall, Oates) – 4:10
- "Your Imagination" (Hall) – 3:34
- "Some Men" (Hall) – 4:15
- Remastered CD bonus tracks
- "Your Imagination" (12" version) – 5:41
- "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" (12" version) – 6:04
- Produced by Daryl Hall, John Oates and Neil Kernon
- Mixed and engineered by Neil Kernon
- Daryl Hall: Lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, keyboards, synthesizers, mandocello, vibraphone, percussion, mandola
- John Oates: Electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, lead and backing vocals, mando-guitars
- Jerry Marotta: Drums, percussion
- Jimmy Maelen: Percussion
- Charles DeChant: Keyboards, saxophone
- Larry Fast: Synthesizer programming
- Ray Gomez: Guitars
- Mickey Curry: Drums, percussion
- John Siegler: Bass
- G.E. Smith, Jeff Southworth: Additional electric and acoustic guitars
- John Jarett: Backing vocals
- Chuck Burgi: Drums, percussion
Singles and notable songs
The following singles were released from the album, with the highest charting positions listed.
|#||Title||Hot 100||UK Singles|
|2.||"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)"||1||8|
|3.||"Did It in a Minute"||9||—|
The title track of Private Eyes builds on the punchy sound of "Kiss on My List". The handclap chorus and vocal/keyboard hooks of the recording were augmented by the promotional video, featuring the band wearing detective garb (trench coats, fedoras, and suits). It was one of the duo's earliest hit videos on MTV.
While the "Private Eyes" tune remains a rock-and-soul signature of the duo, its huge success was eclipsed by the second single from the Private Eyes album—"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", released in the fall of 1981 before the start of the Christmas season. It topped the pop, R&B and dance charts. It remains one of the few songs by a white act to top both pop and R&B, and among the most heavily-sampled songs in the history of hip hop (for a list of acts who've covered/quoted from it, see the entry for the song).
The other charted songs from the Private Eyes album include the Top 40 hit "Your Imagination", and "Did It in a Minute", a top ten hit with a similar rhythm to "Private Eyes" and "Kiss on My List".
Among the other entries on the album is "Looking for a Good Sign", which the duo (in the original liner notes) dedicates to the original lineup of The Temptations, a major influence on Hall and Oates. The duo would eventually perform with classic Tempts vocalists David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick at Live Aid and on their Live at the Apollo album in 1985. According to American Songwriter, Daryl Hall states: "'Looking for a Good Sign' was one of the few songs in my life that I actually dreamed. I woke up in the morning and ran to the tape recorder and sang my dream into the tape recorder and got that. It's great... it's a dream song." Hall & Oates also sang with The Temptations at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Hall & Oates' biggest success would come the following year with the album H2O, but many critics term Private Eyes as their creative and cultural peak, not only for its artistic and commercial success but for its influence.