It doesn’t get much more appropriate: a long-popular Hall — and Oates — joining rock music’s Hall of Fame.
On their first nomination, Daryl Hall and John Oates have earned one of their field’s top accolades as 2014 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Recorded last month at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., the tune-packed ceremony will be televised by HBO on Saturday (May 31).
Peter Gabriel, KISS, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band are the year’s other performer inductees; Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Beatles manager Brian Epstein (posthumously) and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham.
Inducted by Questlove of the Roots, Hall & Oates select “She’s Gone,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” and “You Make My Dreams” to perform from their extensive catalog of hits. Springsteen, Chris Martin, Art Garfunkel, Glenn Frey, Michael Stipe and Peter Asher also give induction speeches, with Carrie Underwood, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Lorde and Joan Jett among the event’s other performers.
Hall talked with Zap2it about the recent honor bestowed upon him and Oates … and it didn’t come without mixed emotions for him.
Zap2it: How was the induction ceremony from your perspective?
Daryl Hall: I think it was indicative of the music business … and when I say “music business,” I use that in very loose terms. To me, the music business is organized crime; it’s not a business. [The ceremony] was interminable windbaggery.
Zap2it: You’ve said you were surprised to be inducted. Was that still a thought for you on that night?
Daryl Hall: Well, yeah. I never expected it, because I’ve always worked on the outside of all this stuff. I’m not a friend of those people, I’m not part of their world, and I was surprised to be included in it.
If you want the truth, I think there was a lot of pressure put on them from the outside to do it. All I can say about it, in general, is that I’m very happy to be in a museum that’s part of probably the biggest thing that happened in the history of music. They made me part of it, I’m very happy about it, and I’m sure John is, too. But boy, suffering through that ceremony – I had more fun in gallbladder surgery.
Zap2it: Were you happy with the performance you gave at the event?
Daryl Hall: When push comes to shove, John and I deliver the goods. That’s what we do. That’s our lot in life, so in spite of some technical issues or whatever, we just got up there and played some rock-and-soul music.
Zap2it: Does it please you to be part of this particular “class” of inductees?
Daryl Hall: I’ve known Peter Gabriel from years ago; I actually stayed at his house a couple of times, so I’m glad to have him in there. Cat Stevens was a surprise, but his body of work is very interesting.
And Linda’s body of work … I guess the answer is, there’s an interesting cross-section of music that was inducted, and isn’t that indicative of modern music? There are a lot of different things that matter.
Zap2it: Was there the inclination that night to reflect on how you and John first got together, and how your shared path has gone since?
Daryl Hall: There was the inclination to get the speech over as quickly as possible. I tend to be succinct; I can say in a few sound bites what most people take a long time to say, and I am happy with what I said.
Zap2it: When such movies as “She’s Out of My League” and “(500) Days of Summer” reaffirm what touchstones your songs are, are you even more prideful of the Hall & Oates body of work?
Daryl Hall: It’s the best part of it all, really, in terms of my history with John. It’s one of those things that I think every artist hopes will happen, that you transcend generations. By doing that, you have a certain sense of timelessness, and it’s really rewarding. I’m glad people still relate to the music in a vital way. I still make music in the present, but it’s nice to have my past music treated that way as well.
Zap2it: You made a big point in your acceptance speech about the recognition of popular music that comes out of Philadelphia, where you and John started as a duo. Do you feel your Hall of Fame honor helps that?
Daryl Hall: Philadelphia is outrageously overlooked. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is very New York-centered, and it goes back to colonial times; I’m a historian. New York and Philadelphia have always had a rivalry, and for anybody from Philadelphia, there’s some kind of humor involved in it. It transfers over to a lack of respect and understanding of the gigantic influence that Philadelphia has had on the world of modern music.
“American Bandstand” (which originated there) … I’ll just say that. Chubby Checker … boom. The O’Jays … boom. The Spinners … boom. These people influenced music. I lived in Europe for a long time and continue to for a lot of the year, and I’m telling you, Philadelphia has more influence on modern music than Motown or any of the other forms ever did.
Zap2it: You continue to gather groups of musicians to perform on “Live From Daryl’s House,” your Internet series that’s also in broadcast syndication. Does that remain as fun an endeavor for you?
Daryl Hall: I get more pleasure out of it than anything. It uses my strengths in a certain way. I’ve always been a person who loves collaboration, obviously, and I like putting myself in different musical situations.
I feel strong and comfortable in that, and this is the ultimate way to showcase that. I can work with anybody and, in some cases, make it sound better than the guest star’s records. It’s incredibly rewarding, and I have no plans of stopping.