Big Bam Boom

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Big Bam Boom
Hall Oates BigBamBoom.jpg
Studio album by Hall & Oates
Released October 12, 1984
Studio Electric Lady Studios, Summer 1984[1]
Length 40:13
Label RCA Records
Hall & Oates chronology
Rock 'n Soul Part 1
(1983)Rock 'n Soul Part 11983
Big Bam Boom
Live at the Apollo
(1985)Live at the Apollo1985
Singles from Big Bam Boom
  1. "Out of Touch"
    Released: October 4, 1984
  2. "Method of Modern Love"
    Released: December 15, 1984
  3. "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid"
    Released: March 16, 1985[2]
  4. "Possession Obsession"
    Released: June 8, 1985

Big Bam Boom is the twelfth studio album by Daryl Hall & John Oates, released by RCA Records late in 1984. It marked the end of one of the most successful album runs by a duo of the 1980s. RCA issued a remastered version in July 2004 with four bonus tracks. The song "Out of Touch" (the first single) was a #1 pop hit, and charted in several other areas (#24 Hot Black Singles, #8 on the Adult Contemporary charts and #1 on the dance charts, #48 in the UK). Another song taken from the album, the Daryl Hall and Janna Allen-penned "Method of Modern Love" reached a high point of #5, and "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid," reached #18.

Musical styles on the album include Pop, Rock, and Dance-Rock, with R&B/Soul influences.[citation needed] The album had even more of an electronic, urban feel to it compared to their previous albums, combining their song structure & vocalization with the latest technical advances in recording and playing.[3] The album employed some of the most sophisticated equipment ever used in the recording industry at the time.[3]

Big Bam Boom peaked at No. 5 and sold over three million copies worldwide.[4]

Background and recording[edit]

The making of Big Bam Boom represented a fresh new musical universe for Daryl Hall & John Oates, it was an experimental crucible of traditional recordings and state of the art, for the time, technologies.[3]

"We embraced each new device on its merits as a tool to enhance and integrate into the recording process. For us, they were instruments to be used to achieve an end: service and enrich the songs."
John Oates on his autobiography.[3]

In 1984 analog, or tape, recording was at its zenith, the twenty four track tape recorders enabled artists to record forty-eight tracks simultaneously on two-inch tape, digital recording was a new technology too. The duo opted to record on analog tape rather than the then-new digital multitrack machines. Due to their commercial success, the duo were able to take advantage of the latest musical devices available then, specially the most advanced polyphonic synthesizers like Synclavier and the Fairlight.[3]

With all these innovations in recording techniques there were almost no limitations to become their recordings in a musical statement, the pop duo started to digitally sample everything they record. Bob Clearmountain, one of the producers, and, Mickey Curry, the drummer, recorded various drum sounds, manipulating delays and reverbs to create huge dramatic bottom end that is emblematic of this album and the 80's in general.[3]

Thanks to the new polyphonic synthesizers, the duo experimented with new sounds, for example, recording Boy Scout canteens, cardboard boxes, vocals, footsteps in gravel, etc., and combined them with the use of newer and more sophisticated drum machines.[3]

Track listing[edit]

Big Bam Boom – Standard edition[5]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dance on Your Knees" Arthur Baker, Daryl Hall 1:25
2. "Out of Touch" Daryl Hall, John Oates 4:21
3. "Method of Modern Love" Daryl Hall, Janna Allen 5:32
4. "Bank on Your Love" Daryl Hall, John Oates, Sara Allen 4:17
5. "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" Daryl Hall 5:27
6. "Going Thru The Motions" Daryl Hall, John Oates, Sara Allen 5:39
7. "Cold Dark and Yesterday" John Oates 4:41
8. "All American Girl" Daryl Hall, John Oates, Sara Allen 4:28
9. "Possession Obsession" Daryl Hall, John Oates, Sara Allen 4:36
Total length: 40:13


In order to promote the album, the duo embarked the Big Bam Boom Tour - Live Through '85.[7] It was their last major roadtrip together for a Hall & Oates record, they did most of the traveling in a private plane.[8] MTV provided tour date and ticket outlet announcements and the channel's name appeared on all tickets and print advertising, and was tagged on all radio spots.[7] The duo performed a show at The Forum in Inglewood, California, on December 17, 1984, with a satellite-delivered live broadcast of the concert; it was aired the next day.[9] The radio broadcast was remastered and released on CD, via music download and streaming in 2015 under the title: The LA Forum - 17 Dec 1984.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[12]
Robert Christgau B[13]

In a review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine called Big Bam Boom "a sprawling and diffuse album" and "a bigger, noisier record than its predecessors, with its rhythms smacking around in an echo chamber and each track built on layers of synthesizers and studio effects". In Erlewine's opinion, it was a disappointment coming after a trio of albums that had very few flaws. Erlewine also criticized the production on the album saying that "it obscures the dark undercurrent to many of the tunes, several of which seem to foreshadow the duo's long hiatus following this record".[11]


  • Daryl Hall – lead vocals (1–6, 8), backing vocals, synthesizers, electric guitar, vibraphone, arrangements
  • John Oates – lead vocals (7, 9), backing vocals, synthesizers, electric guitar, synth guitar, arrangements
  • Brian Doyle – electric guitars, harmonica
  • Eddie Anderson – Director of Security
  • Coati Mundi – Spanish vocals
  • Bashiri Johnson – percussion, timbales
  • Jimmy Bralower – LinnDrum programming
  • Jay Burnett – percussion
  • Wells Christy – Synclavier programming
  • Mickey Curry – drums
  • Anthony Aquilato – keyboard and synth drum technician
  • Charles DeChant – saxophone
  • Robbie Kilgore – keyboards, synthesizer programming
  • Mike Klvana – keyboard technician
  • Clive Smith – Fairlight CMI
  • G.E. Smith – electric guitar
  • Tom "T-Bone" Wolk – synthesizer, bass guitar, electric guitar, arrangements


  • Producers: Daryl Hall, John Oates, Bob Clearmountain
  • Engineering: Jay Burnett and Bob Clearmountain
  • Assistant Engineers: Gary Hellman, Bruce Buchalter and Michael Sauvage
  • Mixing: Bob Clearmountain
  • "Mix Consultant and Additional Production"; also remixing on tracks #10–13: Arthur Baker
  • Editing on tracks #10–13: The Latin Rascals
  • Mastering: Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk (New York, NY)
  • Art Direction and Artwork: Mick Haggerty
  • Cover Photography: Jean Pagliuso
  • Inner Photography: Jean Pagliuso and Larry Williams
  • Liner Notes: Yuji Muraoka
  • Management and Direction: Tommy Mottola

Charts and certifications[edit]

The album debuted at number 33 on the Billboard 200 the week of October 27, 1984 as the highest debut of the week, after five weeks it reached and peaked at number five on the chart on December 1, 1984, the album remained on the chart for fifty one weeks and was ranked as the seventeenth most successful album of 1985 on the Billboard 200.[14][15][16] Additionally, it reached number twenty five on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart the week of January 12, 1985.[17] By December 1984 the album sold one million copies in the US and it was certified Platinum on December 3, 1984, eventually, it sold another million of copies and it was certified double Platinum by the RIAA on April 1, 1985.[18]

In the United Kingdom the album debuted and peaked at number twenty eight on October 28, 1984 and was present on the chart for thirteen weeks.[19] It was certified Silver by the BPI on February 1, 1985 for shipments of 60,000.[20]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[21] 20
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[22] 12
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[23] 43
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[24] 47
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[25] 12
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 16
UK Albums (OCC)[27] 28
US Billboard 200[15] 5
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[17] 25

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Position
US Billboard 200[16] 17


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[28] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] 1× Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[18] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Oates, John (2017). "The '80s Sessions". Change of Seasons: A Memoir. 
  2. ^ "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid". 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Oates, John; Epting, Chris (2017). "Smoking Guns, Hot to the Touch". Change of Seasons: A Memoir (e-Book ed.). 
  4. ^ Today, U. S. A.;; (October 12, 2015). "Hall and Oates' 'Big Bam Boom' was sparked by moment of experimentation". Something Else!. Retrieved 2017-09-11. Hall and Oates also shot to No. 1 on the dance charts, No. 8 on the adult contemporary charts, No. 24 on the R&B charts and No. 48 in the UK — helping Big Bam Boom sell more than three million copies. 
  5. ^ Big Bam Boom (Album liner notes). Daryl Hall & John Oates. RCA Records. 1984. PCD1-5336. 
  6. ^ "Big Bam Boom (Remastered) by Daryl Hall & John Oates on Apple Music". iTunes Store. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "...newsline...". Billboard - October 27, 1984 (PDF). Billboard Magazine. p. 60. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Soul to Soul". SPIN - July 1988. Spin Magazine. Google Books. p. 36. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Featured Programming". Billboard - December 8, 1984 (PDF). Billboard Magazine. p. 19. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  10. ^ "The LA Forum - 17 Dec 1984 (Remastered) (Live FM Radio Broadcast Concert In Superb Fidelity) by Daryl Hall & John Oates on Apple Music". iTunes Store. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Daryl Hall & John Oates: Big Bam Boom". AllMusic. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  12. ^ Berger, Arion (2004). "Daryl Hall & John Oates". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. p. 358. ISBN 0743201698. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Daryl Hall & John Oates: Big Bam Boom". Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Top 200 Albums". Billboard - October 27, 1984. Billboard Magazine. Google Books. p. 67. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  15. ^ a b "Daryl Hall John Oates Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Billboard 200 Albums - Year-End 1985, archived from the original on October 25, 2016, retrieved September 10, 2017 
  17. ^ a b "Daryl Hall John Oates Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "American album certifications – Hall & Oates – Big Bam Boom". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 19, 2017.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  19. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. October 28, 1984. Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  20. ^ a b "British album certifications – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 19, 2017.  Enter Big Bam Boom in the search field and then press Enter.
  21. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  22. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 9630". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  23. ^ " – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  24. ^ " – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  25. ^ " – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  26. ^ " – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  27. ^ "Daryl Hall & John Oates | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  28. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Hall & Oates – Big Bam Boom". Music Canada. Retrieved August 23, 2017.