John Oates was destined to be a musician. Singing from the time he could talk and Playing the guitar since the age of five, his calling in life was never in question. Born in New York City, his family moved to a small town outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania in the early 1950’s…. a move that would change the course of his life. Like most kids at that time, the impact of the early days of rock left an lasting impression on John. At the age of four he witnessed his first live concert: Bill Haley and the Comets playing their classic rockabilly hits at a local amusement park.
Then there were the records…He began to collect 45 rpm singles …treasures from Little Richard, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, Conway Twitty, Gary U.S. Bonds and of course, Elvis. He spent countless hours twisting the dial on his AM transistor radio trying to tune in the local R&B stations and listening to DJs like Jerry Blavat spinning obscure Doo Wop records and B sides.
When it came to influences John was open to more than just the top 40 hits…his friends’ older brother turned him on to the nascent folk music scene that began to sweep the country in the early 60’s. John’s interest in traditional American music began and he immersed himself in discovering primitive Appalachian Scotch Irish ballads, bluegrass, delta blues and the ragtime guitar styles performed by many of the newly rediscovered bluesmen and folk singers who began to make appearances at the Newport and Philadelphia folk festivals. At the same time he had the unique opportunity to attend shows at the famous Uptown Theater hearing many of the R&B legends like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield as well as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Absorbing it all, he developed a kind of musical split personality.
One night John might be wearing a sharkskin suit playing everything from Doo Wop to the big R&B hits of the day with his band and the next night he would be Playing solo with his acoustic guitar in a local coffee house performing blues and folk…to this day the very same roots and influences still can be heard in John’s original playing and singing style.
John had the good fortune to meet an influential guitar player/ teacher named Jerry Ricks who had spent time on the road with Mississippi John Hurt and Son House. Jerry took John under his wing and introduced him to many of the newly rediscover folk performers, such as; Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis, Dave Van Ronk and Mississippi John for whom Philadelphia’s folk venues, like the Second Fret and Main Point, were frequent stops in their concert schedules. John had the unique opportunity to play alongside some of these seminal musicians learning first hand, their finger picking and flat picking styles.
In 1966, he wrote and recorded his first single “I Need Your Love” recorded at the legendary Virtue Sound Studio on North Broad Street and released on the Crimson label owned by a local music store called the Record Museum. The song was arranged by Bobby Martin who at the time was producing and arranging for Gamble and Huff. The single received airplay on Philly’s R&B radio stations and John began to divide his time between being a student and a professional musician.
In the late 60’s John moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University to be closer to the city’s music scene. While attending Temple John met Daryl Hall and they began their historic partnership. After graduating in 1970 with a degree in Journalism, John devoted the next few years working with Daryl in Philadelphia establishing the sound that would one day become world famous.
When John first met Daryl Hall it was their mutual love for urban rhythm and blues blended with the more rural roots of Americana music that created their unique sound. Since the formation of their partnership in the early 70’s Hall & Oates have gone on to record 21 albums which have sold over 80 million units making them the most successful duo in rock history. They have scored 10 number one records, over 20 top 40 hits and have toured the world for decades. Their involvement in the original “Live Aid” concert and the ground breaking “We Are The World” charity recording have further established them as legendary artists who have personally and through their music, stood the test of time. Their influence on modern pop music has been cited by numerous contemporary bands, like the Gym Class Heroes, the Killers and Hot Chel Rae, all of whom have credited and acknowledged H&O’s considerable contribution to American popular music.
In addition to their numerous American Music, MTV awards and multiple Grammy nominations, in 2005 they were inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame and in May of 2008 will were presented the prestigious BMI Icon Award for their outstanding career achievement in song writing. In April 2014 Hall & Oates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He was also the creator and executive producer for the “7908 the Aspen Songwriters Festival” that brings together the finest songwriters from around the world to perform at the Historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen Colorado. The festival’s mission is to celebrate the art and craft of songwriting combined with a strong educational component dedicated to mentoring and developing the next generation of songwriters.
In 2013 John teamed up with Jim James of My Morning Jacket to curate the Bonnaroo Super Jam with special guests: Britney Howard, Billy Idol, R. Kelly, Larry Graham and the Preservation Hall Jazz band.
Since embarking on a long awaited solo career in 1999,, John has recorded five solo albums: “Phunk Shui,“100 Miles of Life”, “Mississippi Mile” and a live album called “The Bluesville Sessions”. In 2013 he released :
GOOD ROAD TO FOLLOW
which began as a series of digital singles featuring collaborations with legendary as well as new rising stars such as Vince Gill and Ryan Tedder. In March of 2014 the songs were compiled into a critically acclaimed fifteen song, three disc album. The wide range of songs and productions showcases the unique musical diversity that has become the trademark of his artistic talent.
In January 2015 John released his latest project on Warner/Elektra, a DVD entitled:
ANOTHER GOOD ROAD
Recorded live in a Nashville studio in one session and featuring some of Music City’s finest musicians and singers, this intimate performance video takes you on yet another musical journey.
The video contains rare, seldom seen footage of his family ranch in Colorado and a glimpse into John’s world behind the music.
Songs include live gems from the critically acclaimed “Good Road To Follow” album as well as three new, never before recorded songs. This performance truly captures the early roots influences of Americana and blues blended with his unique pop sensibilities that has earned John world wide popularity and respect over the last four decades.
When, not touring with his solo show or with Daryl Hall, John, his wife Aimee and their son Tanner divide their time between Nashville Tennessee and their rescue ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, along with dogs, Emus, Peacocks, Llamas and Alpacas.