Hallandoatesselftitledcover#10 – Hall & Oates – “Sara Smile” – (1975)

It’s like when they shot this album cover, they went “let’s try and look as much like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie as possible. And Oates, put more makeup on. The 70s were a confusing time. This was Hall & Oates first top ten hit in the U.S., climbing to #4. It’s a fantastic song – nice soft, rock. It’s also one of the reasons we’re breaking everything pre-1980 down year by year… because music like this bled over into the 1980s and every year seemed to have a different feel about it.

USA for Africa – “We are the World” – (1985)

Charity singles. The U.K. goes crazy for them and has them all the time. It doesn’t work so well here in the U.S. Perhaps it’s because this track. I’m not sure. It’s definitely cheesy and a part of 1980s culture. This was a group of singers who came together to perform a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and sell it to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. The whole thing was inspired by Band Aid (from the U.K.). It ended up raising $100 million and selling over 20 million copies (impressive). Annoyingly, USA for Africa stands for “United Support of Artists for Africa” and that’s because a few of the artists weren’t American. Here’s everyone other than Jackson and Richie who were involved: Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Bob Geldof (who was responsible for Band Aid), both Hall and Oates, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Randy Jackson (the one from the Jackson 5… not the one from American Idol), Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News (the whole band), Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, all three Pointer Sisters, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder. Yeah, pretty impressive. Look at how many of those people are respectable and/or legendary (many of them) and think about how that would play out today. Do we really need Bieber and Kesha and company coming together for charity? That’s the exact reason charity singles don’t work in the U.S. anymore. The current crop of North American are trash. Also: not how hilariously out of place Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan sound here.

Hall & Oates – “Everything Your Heart Desires” – (1988)

This was the last top 10 single from Hall & Oates – well, I guess technically I should say “it’s their most recent” – but for some reason, I don’t see them putting out a new single to compete with Miley Cyrus among tweens whose YouTube habits dictate the current Billboard charts. This song actually reached #3 but I don’t know if I ever recalled hearing it on the radio even in the 90s. Not their most classic tune. But not terrible either.

Hall & Oates – “Out of Touch” – (1984)

“Out of Touch” is one of Hall & Oates’ best songs from the 1980s. It’s also one of the most New Wave-y songs that they ever recorded. It was the last #1 hit they had on the Hot 100. The opening lyrics “Shake it up…” always grab me and hook me into the song – and so does the hook of what sounds an awful lot like bells (but could be a synthesizer or something). I like the video – Daryl Hall has some serious dance moves (although the leopard-print suit is a bit much… but hey, it was 1984.).

#17 – Hall & Oates – “You Make My Dreams” – (1980)

This is one of the all-time catchiest songs. Ever. And it only made it to #5. Hall & Oates had a few #1s in their career and when I look at most of them I think, “Why?” Why weren’t songs like this #1? It’s popped up here and there over the years. It as in The Wedding Singer and, quite popularly, (500) Days of Summer – in which, I think, may be one of the greatest dance sequences ever. But my favorite appearance of it was a spoof of it done on SNL about Barack Obama.