Throughout the 70s and 80s, you could turn on the radio and there would be a catchy tune by Hall & Oates. They were responsible for such hits as “Maneater,” “Private Eyes,” and “Rich Girl.”
The duo was formed by Daryl Hall and John Oates. With over 40 million records sold, it’s clear that the duo worked. Well, notice that is in the past tense. There’s now a significant lawsuit that is dividing the two as well as a restraining order.
Hall is alleging that Oates was planning to sell the entire song catalogue without his knowledge. Meanwhile, Oates calls such claims “inflammatory, outlandish, and inaccurate.”
The initial lawsuit is sealed, so there’s not a lot that we know. However, it does have to do with the supposed plan that Oates had to sell his share of the duo’s publishing to a company known as Primary Wave Music. The company has purchased many song catalogs by artists of the 70s and 80s, including Stevie Nicks and Prince.
The duo had a number of longstanding business agreements in place, which is where Hall’s lawsuit comes in. He says that the move from Oates was in bad faith and a “blatant violation” of the agreements.
As a result of the lawsuit, a judge also issued a restraining order against the assets of Whole Oats Enterprises (WOE) so that a sale to Primary Wave couldn’t happen.
Oates was quick to respond with a comment that explains how he perceives not only Hall but his character:
“Over the years, Daryl has consistently and publicly been adamant about being perceived as an individual rather than as part of a duo or group. Thus, he has insisted on our being known as ‘Daryl Hall and John Oates,’ rather than the more commonly known ‘Hall & Oates’. On this point I agree. I now must act with truthfulness and make decisions that are right for myself, my family, and my artistic future.”
Hall is against the sale because he fears that Primary Wave would use his name and likeness in ways that he does not support.
As for what Primary Wave has to say, they have not been available for comment.
It seems that Hall & Oates are done for. The only question that remains is what will happen to their song catalogue – and this may be something that gets dragged through the courts for a while.
If you were hoping to see a Hall & Oates reunion tour for 2024, don’t bet on it happening.