John Oates

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John Oates
Oates in June 2009
Oates in June 2009
Background information
Born (1948-04-07) April 7, 1948 (age 76)
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) is an American musician, best known as half of the rock and soul duo Hall & Oates along with Daryl Hall. He has played rock, R&B, and soul music, serving as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and record producer.

Although Oates's 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,[1] and in 2014 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of Hall & Oates.[2] His memoir, Change of Seasons, was published in 2017.

Early life[edit]

John William Oates was born in New York City on April 7, 1948.[3] Oates's memoir states his mother was Italian, and his father was a Gibraltarian of mixed background: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Moorish (Black, Berber and/or Arab). He was raised in North Wales, Pennsylvania.[4] He 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 a group named The Masters[8] for Philadelphia-based Crimson Records.[9] After graduating from North Penn High School in 1966,[10] 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.[11] 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[12] and the Killers.[13]

Oates performing in Tampa, Florida, 1982

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.[14]

As reported by Billboard in 2008, Oates was shopping an animated series titled J-Stache, created by Evan Duby at Primary Wave Music Publishing.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17] In 2015, Oates released Another Good Road,[18] 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 co-written with Chris Epting and published on March 28, 2017 by St. Martin's Press.[19]

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.[20]

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,[21] Voyage Air Guitars,[22] Neunaber Audio,[23] LR Baggs,[24] and Fishman.[25]

In November 2023, Daryl Hall sued John Oates and filed a temporary restraining order against him, for initially undisclosed reasons.[26] The following week, Hall filed a declaration accusing Oates of "the ultimate partnership betrayal" for planning to sell his share of the duo's publishing to Primary Wave Music. Oates responded that Hall's statements were "inflammatory, outlandish, and inaccurate".[27]

Also in 2023, Oates competed in season ten of The Masked Singer as "Anteater". He was eliminated during the Group C finals in "Soundtrack of My Life" alongside Keyshia Cole as "Candelabra".

Personal life[edit]

Oates was previously married to former model Nancy Hunter. He and his second wife, Aimee, have a son named Tanner (born 1996).[4] They split their time between Woody Creek, Colorado,[28] and Nashville, Tennessee.[29]

Oates became friends with 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.[30]


Hall & Oates[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Year
Whole Oats 1972
Abandoned Luncheonette 1973
War Babies 1974
Daryl Hall & John Oates 1975
Bigger Than Both of Us 1976
Beauty on a Back Street 1977
Along the Red Ledge 1978
X-Static 1979
Voices 1980
Private Eyes 1981
H2O 1982
Big Bam Boom 1984
Ooh Yeah! 1988
Change of Season 1990
Marigold Sky 1997
Do It for Love 2003
Our Kind of Soul 2004
Home for Christmas 2006

Live albums[edit]

Title Year
Livetime 1978
Sweet Soul Music 1984
Live at the Apollo (with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick) 1985
Sara Smile 1995
Live! 1998
Limited Edition 2001
Ecstasy on the Edge
Greatest Hits Live
Live in Concert 2003
Live at the Troubadour 2008
Live in Dublin 2015


Title Album Year
"Goodnight and Good Morning" (as Whole Oats) Whole Oats 1972
"I'm Sorry" 1973
"She's Gone" Abandoned Luncheonette
"When the Morning Comes" 1974
"Can't Stop the Music (He Played It Much Too Long)" War Babies
"Camellia" Daryl Hall & John Oates 1975
"Alone Too Long"
"Sara Smile" 1976
"She's Gone" (re-release) Abandoned Luncheonette
"Do What You Want, Be What You Are" Bigger Than Both of Us
"Rich Girl" 1977
"Back Together Again"
"It's Uncanny" No Goodbyes
"Why Do Lovers (Break Each Other's Heart?)" Beauty on a Back Street
"Don't Change"
"It's a Laugh" Along the Red Ledge 1978
"I Don't Wanna Lose You"
"Wait for Me" X-Static 1979
"Portable Radio"
"Who Said the World Was Fair" 1980
"Running from Paradise"
"How Does It Feel to Be Back" Voices
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"
"Kiss on My List" 1981
"You Make My Dreams"
"Private Eyes" Private Eyes
"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)"
"Did It in a Minute" 1982
"Your Imagination"
"Maneater" H2O
"One on One" 1983
"Family Man"
"Italian Girls"
"Jingle Bell Rock" non-album single
"Say It Isn't So" Rock 'n' Soul: Part 1
"Adult Education" 1984
"Out of Touch" Big Bam Boom
"Method of Modern Love" 1985
"Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid"
"Possession Obsession"
"A Nite at the Apollo Live!

The Way You Do the Things You Do/My Girl" (with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks)

Live at the Apollo
"Everything Your Heart Desires" Ooh Yeah! 1988
"Missed Opportunity"
"Downtown Life"
"Talking All Night"
"Love Train" Earth Girls Are Easy (soundtrack) 1989
"So Close" Change of Season 1990
"Don't Hold Back Your Love" 1991
"Everywhere I Look"
"Starting All Over Again"
"Promise Ain't Enough" Marigold Sky 1997
"Romeo Is Bleeding" 1998
"The Sky Is Falling"
"Hold On to Yourself"
"Throw the Roses Away"
"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" (remix) The Essential Collection 2001
"Private Eyes" (re-release) 2002
"Do It for Love" Do It for Love
"Forever for You"
"Man on a Mission" 2003
"Someday We'll Know" (with Todd Rundgren)
"Getaway Car"
"I'll Be Around" Our Kind of Soul 2004
"Without You"
"I Can Dream About You" 2005
"Ooh Child"
"Let Love Take Control"
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" Home for Christmas 2006
"Home for Christmas"
"Take Christmas Back" non-album singles 2007
"Philly Forget Me Not" (with Train) 2018
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Songs with Oates on lead vocals[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
  • "Soldering" 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

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Peak chart positions Album
US US Country
1984 "The Only Flame in Town" Elvis Costello 56 Goodbye Cruel World
2009 "Sara Smile" Jimmy Wayne 31 Sara Smile

Other appearances[edit]

Year Song Album
1989 "Love Train" Earth Girls Are Easy (Soundtrack)
1991 "Philadelphia Freedom" Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
1999 "And That's What Hurts" Runaway Bride (Music from the Motion Picture)


Studio albums[edit]

Title Year
Phunk Shui 2002
1000 Miles of Life 2008
Mississippi Mile 2011
Good Road to Follow 2014
Arkansas 2018
Reunion 2024

Live albums[edit]

Title Year
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

Other appearances[edit]

Year Song Album
1986 "She's the Shape of Things to Come" About Last Night (Soundtrack)
2004 "The Greatest Mistake (with Jamie Cullum)" White People'' (album by Handsome Boy Modeling School)

Non-album singles[edit]

Title Year
Let's Drive c.2014
Santa Be Good To Me (featuring the Time Jumpers) 2016
I Blinked Once (featuring Bekka Bramlett) 2017
The Christmas Song 2020
Pushin' a Rock 2023
Disconnected 2023
What a Wonderful World 2023
Why Can't We Live Together 2023
Maneater (Reggae Version) 2023
Too Late to Break Your Fall 2023
Get Your Smile On 2023


  1. ^ "John Oates at the Songwriters Hall of Fame". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  2. ^ "2014 Induction Ceremony". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2009).Top Pop Singles 1955–2008 (12th ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p.419.
  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.
  7. ^ Tramel, Jimmie (April 15, 2017). "Pop culture: Can we get John Oates (he's eligible) in National Wrestling Hall of Fame?". Tulsa World. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Do what you want, be what you are: The music of Daryl Hall & John Oates". Archived from the original on September 30, 2023.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ Accolade (1966 yearbook of North Penn High School, Lansdale PA).
  11. ^ "John Oates Biography". Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  12. ^ "Travis McCoy Shows Off His Hall & Oates Tattoos". Peoplemag. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  13. ^ Rodman, Sarah (March 28, 2010). "Daryl Hall is on everyone's list". Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  14. ^ "John Oates – 1000 Miles of Life (CD, Album)". discogs. August 23, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  15. ^ High, Kamau (June 27, 2008). "Oates, Mustache Make Cartoon Crime-Fighting Team". Billboard. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  16. ^ Trust, Gary (October 1, 2011). "Weekly Chart Notes: Mick Jagger, LMFAO, Taylor Swift". Billboard. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  17. ^ "Hall & Oates' John Oates Stands Strong with New Americana-Flavored Single". WFJA. March 13, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  18. ^ "Watch John Oates: Another Good Road". Amazon. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  19. ^ "John Oates details his forthcoming memoir, Change of Seasons". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  20. ^ "John Oates Embraces Americana on 'Arkansas'". John Oates. November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  21. ^ "John Oates". Taylor Guitars. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  22. ^ "Folding Travel Guitar". Voyage Air Guitar. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  23. ^ "John Oates". Neunaber Audio. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  24. ^ "John Oates". LR Baggs. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  25. ^ "Artists". Fishman. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  26. ^ Oladipo, Gloria (November 22, 2023). "Daryl Hall files lawsuit and restraining order against bandmate John Oates". The Guardian. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  27. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (November 30, 2023). "'The ultimate betrayal': more details emerge in Hall & Oates lawsuit". The Guardian. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  28. ^ "John Oates' Many 'Good Roads' (Photo Essay)". Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  29. ^ Tennessean 2015
  30. ^ 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.

External links[edit]