I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)
|"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)"|
|Single by Hall & Oates|
|from the album Private Eyes|
|Released||December 14, 1981|
|Length||5:09 (album version)
4:14 (video edit)
3:45 (single edit)
6:05 (extended club mix)
|Producer(s)||Hall & Oates|
|Hall & Oates singles chronology|
"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" is a song by the American duo Hall & Oates. Written by Daryl Hall and John Oates, and co-written by Sara Allen, the song was released as the second single from their tenth studio album, Private Eyes (1981). The song became the fourth number-one hit single of their career on the Billboard Hot 100 and the second hit single from Private Eyes. It features Charles DeChant on saxello.
Daryl Hall sketched out the basic song one evening at a music studio in New York City, in 1981, after a recording session for the Private Eyes album. Hall began to play a bass line on a Korg organ, and sound engineer Neil Kernon recorded the result. Hall then came up with a guitar riff, which he and Oates worked on together. The next day, Hall, Oates and Sara Allen worked on the lyrics.
Speaking about the meaning of the lyrics, John Oates has stated that while many listeners may assume the lyrics are about a relationship, in reality, the song "is about the music business. That song is really about not being pushed around by big labels, managers, and agents and being told what to do, and being true to yourself creatively." This was done intentionally, he explained, to universalize the topic of the song into something everyone could relate to and ascribe personal meaning to in their own way. Naming "Maneater" as another example, he revealed that this was a common theme for the group's songs.
On January 30, 1982, "I Can't Go for That" ended a 10-week run at the top of the Hot 100 by Olivia Newton-John's song, "Physical" (which had knocked out Hall & Oates' "Private Eyes" from the top spot). The song also went to number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart for one week in January 1982.
Thanks to heavy airplay on urban contemporary radio stations, "I Can't Go for That" also topped the U.S. R&B chart, a rare feat for a white act. According to the Hall & Oates biography, Hall, upon learning that "I Can't Go For That" had gone to number one on the R&B chart, wrote in his diary, "I'm the head soul brother in the U.S. Where to now?"
Awards and accolades
"I Can't Go for That" was voted number six on VH1's list of "The 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s."
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Influence on "Billie Jean"
According to Daryl Hall, during the recording of "We Are the World", Michael Jackson approached him and admitted to lifting the bass line for "Billie Jean" from a Hall and Oates song, apparently referring to "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." Hall says that he told Jackson that he had lifted the bass line from another song himself, and that it was "something we all do."
Samples and interpolations in other songs
- 1989 - "Say No Go" - De La Soul
- 1993 - "V.S.O.P" - Above the Law
- 1996 - "So Deep" - Dan-e-o
- 1997 - "I'll Do Anything" - Heavy D
- 1998 - "I Can't Go for That" - 2 Live Crew
- 1999 - "Wait 'Til I Get Home" - C-Note
- 2001 - "Traffic" - Stereo MC's
- 2002 - "4 Myself" Mac Dre ft. Devious and Dubee
- 2003 - "Take Me To Your Leader" - King Geedorah
- 2003 - "Sunrise" - Simply Red
- 2006 - "Give and Go" - Girl Talk
- 2006 - "Can't Go On" - Örten
- 2006 - "Mama (Loves a Crackhead)" - Plan B
Some songs have included a vocal interpolation of the chorus, including:
- 1996 - "My Crew Can't Go for That" - Trigger tha Gambler
- 2000 - "Can't Go for That" - Tamia
- 2006 - "No Can Do" - Tech N9ne
Other songs have included a re-recorded variation of the song's famous descending arpeggio, including:
- 2000 - "After Party" - Koffee Brown
- Classic Tracks: Hall & Oates "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)", Gary Eskow, Mix Online, April 1, 2006
- Something Else! (24 March 2014). "Hall and Oates’ ‘I Can’t Go For That’ isn’t about what you think it's about; neither is ‘Maneater’". Something Else!. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Kauffman, Leah (18 March 2014). "John Oates on his new album, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and what 'I Can't Go For That' is really about". Philly.com. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1970-1992"
- Classic Tracks: Hall & Oates "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)", Gary Eskow, Mix Online, April 1, 2006 "Listening to 'I Can't Go for That' after letting it drift out of the mind for a while, one can clearly identify this track — one of the first pop hits to feature a drum machine — as a precursor to Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' and the generation of songs built on drum machine tracks that came in its wake. "No question about it," Hall agrees. "Michael Jackson once said directly to me that he hoped I didn't mind that he copped that groove. That's okay; it's something we all do. [Eddie] Van Halen told me that he copied the synth part from ‘Kiss on My List’ and used it in ‘Jump.’ I don't have a problem with that at all."
- Hall, Daryl (July 10, 2009). "Michael Jackson Remembered: Daryl Hall on the Ultimate Video Star". The Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 15, 2010."He sort of clung to Diana Ross pretty much, but at one point I was off to the side and he came over to me and said, 'I hope you don't mind, but I stole 'Billie Jean' from you,' and I said, 'It's all right, man, I just ripped the bass line off, so can you!'"
- "SamplesDB — Hall & Oats's Tracks". Retrieved April 4, 2009.
"Physical" by Olivia Newton-John
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
January 30, 1982
"Centerfold" by The J. Geils Band
"Turn Your Love Around" by George Benson
|Billboard Hot Soul Singles number-one single
January 30, 1982
"Call Me" by Skyy
"Wordy Rappinghood" / "Genius of Love" by Tom Tom Club
|Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
January 23, 1982
"You're the One for Me " by D. Train