Hall & Oates open up about their split and bitter legal battle

Daryl Hall has explained why he is suing John Oates – claiming that he was left “blindsided” by his plan to sell a business stake – while the latter described the claims as “inaccurate”.

Daryl Hall wrote a strongly worded statement about Oates’ alleged breach of their business partnership agreement in a declaration filed in Nashville Chancery Court last night (November 29).

Obtained by Rolling Stone, the outlet reported that Hall accused his bandmate of making a “completely clandestine and bad faith move” by trying to sell a share of their business without Hall’s consent. It also claims that he was only told about the deal to sell half of Whole Oats Enterprises (WOE) to Primary Wave just two days before he was set to leave on a month-long tour.

According to the report, Hall objects to the sale as he disagrees with the “business model” of Primary Wave, and thinks a sale could do “unimaginable” harm to the trademarks, personal name, royalties and online properties of Whole Oats Enterprises.

“I was blindsided by this information,” Hall said of the proposed sale. “I have no intention of becoming partners with Primary Wave, and the Oates Trust cannot be permitted to thrust a new partner upon me in this outrageous fashion.” He also claimed that Oates and his lawyers “violated” the nature of their partnership by engaging in the unauthorised transaction “completely behind my back”.

Elsewhere in his statement, Hall said he incurred substantial legal fees during the mediation and was under the impression Oates was being “protective” of his ownership of Whole Oats Enterprises. “There was never a hint that he would try to ambush me with a sale,” he wrote.

Daryl Hall from Hall & Oates performs at Salle Pleyel on July 10, 2019
Daryl Hall from Hall & Oates performs at Salle Pleyel on July 10, 2019. CREDIT: David Wolff – Patrick/Getty Images

In response to the declaration, Oates responded to his bandmate’s “inflammatory, outlandish, and inaccurate statements”, saying that he was “tremendously disappointed” to hear about the filing.

“I have no idea who or what is motivating Daryl to take these steps and make such salacious statements, but I am deeply hurt,” Oates stated, adding that he spent the last 50 years ensuring that fans “perceive the Hall & Oates music and brand in the most positive light.”

He also claimed that it was Hall who initially went rogue, alleging his bandmate “has consistently and publicly been adamant about being perceived as an individual rather than as part of a duo or group,” even “insisting” they go by the name “Daryl Hall and John Oates,” rather than “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. Committing myself to confidentiality prohibits me from being able to discuss publicly the truth, but that is the agreement that I made,” Oates added. “I can only say that Daryl’s accusations that I breached our agreement, went ‘behind’ his back, ‘acted in bad faith,’ and the like, are not true.”

John Oates of Hall & Oates performs in concert at Etess Arena on August 30, 2019
John Oates of Hall & Oates performs in concert at Etess Arena on August 30, 2019. CREDIT: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

The conflict between the two came to a head on November 17, when it was revealed that Hall was granted a restraining order against his longtime former musical partner. Whilst many of the details were kept under seal initially, a reporter suggested that “based on captions for the filings in the chancery clerk’s system, a business trust is at the centre of the dispute.”

The Davidson County Chancery Court in Nashville granted the restraining order request, which then halted Oates and others involved from working on the deal with Primary Wave until the arbitrator weighs in or the restraining order expires. A hearing has been set for today (November 30).

Most famous for their time as part of the Hall & Oates musical duo, the two met in a lift at the Adelphi Ballroom back in 1967, and came together to form Hall & Oates. Over their career, they became best known for hits such as ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’, ‘You Make My Dreams’ and ‘Maneater’.

Describing their relationship as “strange” back in 1985, Rolling Stone journalist Lynn Hirschberg wrote that Hall & Oates “are a cross between business partners and brothers. Hall doesn’t seem to really like Oates, and Oates seems removed, even distant, from the entire Hall and Oates organisation.”

Later shedding light on their partnership in 2014, Hall told The Guardian: “We get along just fine. We weren’t — and aren’t — very much alike: we have different interests. But the differences aren’t important, what’s important is what we share — and that’s music.”

Oates also said: “Daryl and I are more like brothers than actual friends. We’re very different as people, but we have this incredibly strong musical bond. He is creatively unsatisfied and that drives him forward. He’s very smart, and, in my opinion, has one of the greatest popular voices of all time.”


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