John Oates

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John Oates
Oates in 2009
Oates in 2009
Background information
Birth nameJohn William Oates
Born (1948-04-07) April 7, 1948 (age 74)
New York City, U.S.
OriginNorth Wales, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active1966–present

John William Oates (born April 7, 1948)[1] is an American musician, best known as half of the rock and soul duo Hall & Oates, with Daryl Hall. He has played rock, R&B, and soul music, acting as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and record producer.

Although Oates' main role in the duo is being the guitarist, he also co-wrote many of the top 10 songs that they recorded, including: "Sara Smile" (referring to Hall's then-girlfriend, Sara Allen), "She's Gone", and "Out of Touch", as well as "You Make My Dreams", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "Adult Education". He also sang lead vocals on several more singles in the Hot 100, such as "How Does It Feel to Be Back", "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (a remake of the 1965 song performed by the Righteous Brothers), and "Possession Obsession". In 1986, Oates contributed the song "(She's the) Shape of Things to Come" on the soundtrack to the 1986 film About Last Night. He also co-wrote and sang backup on the song "Electric Blue", recorded by the Australian band Icehouse, which was a Billboard top 10 hit.

Oates was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004,[2] and in 2014 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of Daryl Hall & John Oates.[3] His memoir, Change of Seasons, was published in 2017.

Early life[edit]

Oates was born in New York City. His mother, Ann De Palma, was an Italian immigrant originally from Salerno. His father, Al Oates, was born to an English father and Gibraltarian mother, who claimed Moroccan heritage.[4] He was raised in North Wales, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Oates attended North Penn High School and was co-captain of the 1965-66 wrestling team his senior year and was Section 2 champion in the 127 lb (58 kg) weight class.[5][6] Oates turned down wrestling scholarships and opted to attend Temple University instead because "it was in the city." Oates wrestled as a freshman at Temple and then "got tired of losing weight."[7]


In 1966, he recorded his first single, "I Need Your Love," with the Masters for Philadelphia-based Crimson Records.[8] After graduating from North Penn High School in 1966,[9] John enrolled in Temple University in Philadelphia, where he met Daryl Hall, a senior at Temple who was also a professional musician. The two were involved in several college bands, then formed the duo Hall & Oates, and by 1972, they had signed with Atlantic Records.[10] Hall & Oates went on to record 21 albums (to date), which have sold over 80 million units worldwide, making them arguably the most successful duo in pop–rock history. They have scored ten number-one records and over 20 Top 40 hits and have toured the world for decades. Their involvement in the original Live Aid concert and the charity single "We Are the World", both in 1985, established them further as artists. Their influence on modern American pop music and considerable contributions have been acknowledged by numerous contemporary bands, including Gym Class Heroes and the Killers.[citation needed]

In 1983, Oates was asked whether he regretted not pursuing his degree in journalism. He replied that he did not—and admitted that he had in fact never intended to finish it.[11]

Despite 30 years as a chart-topping performer and sought-after producer, Oates did not release a solo album until 2002's Phunk Shui.

Oates took part, along with Jamie Cullum, in the song "Greatest Mistake" by Handsome Boy Modeling School. The song appears on the 2004 album White People.

Oates' second solo album, 1000 Miles of Life, was released on August 23, 2008.[12]

As reported by Billboard in 2008, Oates was shopping an animated series titled J-Stache, created by Evan Duby at Primary Wave Music Publishing.[13]

In March 2010, Oates played with the indie rock band the Bird and the Bee as a surprise guest. The show was a medley of the Bird and the Bee songs, as well as classic Hall & Oates. The performance was dedicated to H&O bassist T-Bone Wolk who died on February 27, 2010.

On October 1, 2011, Margo Rey charted at #24 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks with the song "Let the Rain", which was co-written by Oates.[14]

On March 11, 2013, Oates released a new single, "Stand Strong", which he co-wrote with Teddy Morgan. "Stand Strong" is part of Good Road to Follow, a set of original songs released as digital singles, one after the other.[15] In 2015, Oates released Another Good Road,[16] a DVD and Live CD combination via PS Records / Warner Elektra, which also debuted as a television special on the Palladia music channel. The DVD was shot live in a recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and features rare footage of his home in Woody Creek, Colorado.

His memoir Change of Seasons was published on March 28, 2017 by St. Martin's Press.[17]

He released an album with his new backing band, "The Good Road Band", titled "Arkansas" on February 2, 2018. Oates commented that the album serves as a connection back to his pre-Hall & Oates music interest of traditional delta, country blues, and ragtime.[18]

Oates has used many instruments and effects throughout his musical career and endorses several manufacturers and brands. Some of the companies endorsed by Oates include, Taylor Guitars,[19] Voyage Air Guitars,[20] Neunaber Audio,[21] LR Baggs,[22] and Fishman.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Oates has been married twice. His first wife was Nancy Hunter, a former model. He and his second wife Aimee Oates[4] have a son, Tanner, who was born in 1996. They reside in Woody Creek, Colorado,[24] as well as Nashville, Tennessee.[25][full citation needed] Oates became friends with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson when he moved to Woody Creek in the late 1980s and the pair maintained a close bond until Thompson's death in 2005.[26]

Hall & Oates songs on which Oates sings lead[edit]

  • "All Our Love" (co-lead vocal) from Whole Oats
  • "Southeast City Window" from Whole Oats
  • "Thank You For ..." from Whole Oats
  • "Lilly (Are You Happy)" (co-lead vocal) from Whole Oats
  • "Had I Known You Better Then" from Abandoned Luncheonette
  • "Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)" from Abandoned Luncheonette
  • "She's Gone" (co-lead vocal) from Abandoned Luncheonette
  • "I'm Just A Kid (Don't Make Me Feel Like A Man)" from Abandoned Luncheonette
  • "Lady Rain" (co-lead vocal) from Abandoned Luncheonette
  • "Can't Stop The Music (He Played It Much Too Long)" from War Babies
  • "Is it a Star" (co-lead vocal) from War Babies
  • "Johnny Gore and the "C" Eaters" (co-lead vocal) from War Babies
  • "Past Times Behind" from "The Atlantic Collection" compilation
  • "Camellia" from Daryl Hall & John Oates
  • "Alone Too Long" from Daryl Hall & John Oates
  • "Ice" from Daryl Hall & John Oates
  • "Back Together Again" from Bigger Than Both of Us
  • "Crazy Eyes" from Bigger Than Both of Us
  • "You'll Never Learn" from Bigger Than Both of Us
  • "The Emptyness" from Beauty on a Back Street
  • "Love Hurts (Love Heals)" from Beauty on a Back Street
  • "The Girl Who Used to Be" from Beauty on a Back Street
  • "Melody for a Memory" from Along the Red Ledge
  • "Serious Music" from Along the Red Ledge
  • "Pleasure Beach" from Along the Red Ledge
  • "Portable Radio" (co-lead vocal) from X-Static
  • "All You Want Is Heaven" (co-lead vocal) from X-Static
  • "Bebop/Drop" from X-Static
  • "How Does It Feel To Be Back" from Voices
  • "Hard To Be In Love With You" (co-lead vocal) from Voices
  • "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (co-lead vocal) from Voices
  • "Africa" from Voices
  • "Mano A Mano" from Private Eyes
  • "Friday Let Me Down" from Private Eyes
  • "Italian Girls" from H2O
  • "At Tension" from H2O
  • "Jingle Bell Rock" from 1983 Christmas single (flip-side featured another version with lead vocals by Daryl Hall)
  • "Possession Obsession" from Big Bam Boom
  • "Cold Dark And Yesterday" from Big Bam Boom
  • "Rockability" (co-lead vocal) from Ooh Yeah!
  • "Keep on Pushin' Love" from Ooh Yeah!
  • "Change of Season" (co-lead vocal) from Change of Season
  • "Only Love" from Change of Season
  • "Starting All Over Again"(co-lead vocal) from Change of Season
  • "Time Won't Pass Me By" (co-lead vocal) from Marigold Sky
  • "War of Words" from Marigold Sky
  • "Someday We'll Know" (co-lead vocal) from Do It for Love
  • "Love in a Dangerous Time" from Do It for Love
  • "Ooh Child" from Our Kind of Soul
  • "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" from Our Kind of Soul
  • "No Child Should Ever Cry on Christmas" from Home for Christmas
  • "The Christmas Song" from Home for Christmas
  • "Don't Go Out" from Do What You Want, Be What You Are box set
  • "All the Way from Philadelphia" (co-lead vocal) from Do What You Want, Be What You Are box set
  • "I Want Someone" (co-lead vocal) from Do What You Want, Be What You Are box set


Studio albums[edit]

  • Phunk Shui (2002)
  • 1000 Miles of Life (2008)
  • Mississippi Mile (2011)
  • Good Road to Follow (2014)
  • Arkansas (2018)

Live albums[edit]

  • Live at the Historic Wheeler Opera House (2004)
  • John Oates Solo – The Album, The Concert (2006)
  • The Bluesville Sessions (2012)
  • Another Good Road (2015)
  • Live in Nashville (2020)


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2009).Top Pop Singles 1955–2008 (12th ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p.419.
  2. ^ "John Oates at the Songwriters Hall of Fame". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  3. ^ "2014 Induction Ceremony". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Haulin' Oates: A Rock Star Starts Shredding". Skiing. November 3, 2008. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  5. ^ "Singing legend brings message home". Allentown Morning Call. September 9, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2020 – via
  6. ^ "Singing legend brings message home". Allentown Morning Call. September 9, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2020 – via
  7. ^ Tramel, Jimmie. "Pop culture: Can we get John Oates (he's eligible) in National Wrestling Hall of Fame?". Tulsa World. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "INTERVIEW: Hall & Oates' John Oates On Playing The Spectrum Tonight | Make Major Moves". Philadelphia Weekly. October 23, 2009. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  9. ^ Accolade (1966 yearbook of North Penn High School, Lansdale PA).
  10. ^ "John Oates Biography". Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  11. ^ Webster, Allan (November 8, 1982). "Hall and Oates: Water on the Brain". Juke Magazine. p. 20.
  12. ^ "John Oates – 1000 Miles of Life (CD, Album)". discogs. August 23, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  13. ^ High, Kamau (June 27, 2008). "Oates, Mustache Make Cartoon Crime-Fighting Team". Billboard. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  14. ^ Trust, Gary (October 1, 2011). "Weekly Chart Notes: Mick Jagger, LMFAO, Taylor Swift". Billboard. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  15. ^ "Hall & Oates' John Oates Stands Strong with New Americana-Flavored Single". WFJA. March 13, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  16. ^ "Watch John Oates: Another Good Road". Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  17. ^ "John Oates details his forthcoming memoir, Change of Seasons". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  18. ^ "John Oates Embraces Americana on 'Arkansas'". John Oates. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  19. ^ "John Oates". Taylor Guitars. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  20. ^ "Folding Travel Guitar". Voyage Air Guitar. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  21. ^ "John Oates". Neunaber Audio. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  22. ^ "John Oates". LR Baggs. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  23. ^ "Artists". Fishman. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  24. ^ "John Oates' Many 'Good Roads' (Photo Essay)". Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  25. ^ Tennessean 2015
  26. ^ Millman, Ethan (July 14, 2017). "Hunter S. Thompson would not remove his convertible after John Oates bought his Colorado cabin". The Denver Post. Retrieved August 19, 2020.

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