John Oates Breaks His Silence Following Contentious Hall & Oates Legal Battle

John Oates legal battle Daryl Hall
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John Oates legal battle Daryl Hall
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Photo Credit: Raph PH / CC by 2.0

John Oates opens up about his contentious legal battle with former songwriting partner and bandmate Daryl Hall — “It’s just a matter of living in my present.”

Iconic 1980s pop rock duo Daryl Hall & John Oates have been in the news of late over legal troubles surrounding Oates’ attempts to sell his share of their joint venture. Now, John Oates has opened up about his partnership with Daryl Hall and their ongoing legal battle.

News of the litigation has arrived piecemeal, initially with the news of Hall placing a restraining order on Oates. It was then revealed that Hall was attempting to block his former songwriting partner from selling his share of the pair’s Whole Oats Enterprises (WOE) to Primary Wave Music.

Oates explained during a recent interview with David Yontef’s “Behind the Velvet Rope” podcast that while the music he made with Daryl Hall “will stand the test of time,” he has moved on from the experience.

“You can’t ignore the fact that the Hall & Oates catalog of hits and the 50-year career will always trump almost anything that Daryl does on his own or I do on my own, which is okay because I’m very proud of that music,” said Oates. “(But) I don’t like to live in the past.”

“I make the analogy of what it’s like when you go to a great museum and you’re really excited to go and see all the beautiful paintings or the exhibits or whatever it might be, and then near the end, your feet start to hurt, and you say, ‘You know what? I can’t wait to get out of here.’ That’s kind of how I feel about it,” Oates described. “It’s just a matter of living in my present.”

He explained that during the height of their stardom and being constantly on the road, there was no time to reflect on the experience. “It was a lot of business demands, a lot of heavy demands. Daryl and I were at the top of the pop world. (…) Everyone thinks that that was probably the high point of my life, but to be honest with you, it actually wasn’t my favorite time.”

Primary Wave has had a significant stake in the Hall & Oates catalog for the last 16 years, and Daryl Hall has indicated that he feels remorse for not owning all of his publishing. Parts of the lawsuit remain sealed, as the presiding judge agreed with Hall’s attorneys that the case contains details covered under the confidentiality agreement that Oates has allegedly breached in his dealings with Primary Wave.