By Sean Smith
For this week’s #ThrowbackThursday post we are going to be taking a look back at a song from the best selling musical duo of all-time, Daryl Hall and John Oates. With seven platinum and six gold selling albums to their credit and an astounding 34 Billboard Hot 100 charting songs in their catalog, it is easy to see why the duo was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2003 and has been nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.
On this day 32 years ago, Hall & Oates notched their third of six Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles with their 1981 hit “Private Eyes.” The song served as the lead single to the duo’s 10th studio album of the same name. An album that also included another Hall & Oates Billboard #1 hit, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” This album would be their first released to break into the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart.
While the pure artistic genius of John Oates and Daryl Hall remain the primary reason for the success of Hall & Oates, one cannot discount the role that a new cable channel launched in the same year also played when “Private Eyes” was released.. MTV was launched on August 1, 1981, exactly a month before RCA’s release of the Private Eyes album. The duo was a constant presence on the newly launched music network. This television exposure allowed the two friends to not only be heard on the FM dial, but also allowed them to be seen by fans via this new concept of cable television. There is no doubt that MTV having the “Private Eyes” video in high rotation helped the song reach the level of success that it did.
One of the main reasons that I like the song “Private Eyes” lies in the song’s writing credits. Daryl Hall wrote this song with his longtime girlfriend Sara Allen (the subject of another Hall & Oates classic “Sara Smile”) and her sister Janna Allen. In their episode of VH1’s Behind The Music , the duo recounts the story of how Janna would visit her sister and the guys in New York City. During that time she would give suggestions to Daryl, who would then incorporate those ideas into the songs that they were working on. Even giving credit to Janna for coming up with the chorus for the #1 single “Kiss on my List” from the 1980 Hall & Oates album Voices. The reason this strikes such a chord with me is because just a few years later Janna would be diagnosed with Leukemia and eventually pass away in 1993. Her death had a profound effect on her sister Sara as well as everyone else involved with Hall & Oates. Learning this story had a profound effect on me as well. It inspired me to take a deeper look into the music from this soulful 1980s Pop sensation.
So for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday here on Clizbeats.com I offer you the Hall & Oates 1981 Classic “Private Eyes.” Enjoy!
Hall & Oates
From Private Eyes