Baby hair with a woman’s eyes. I can feel you watching in the night. All alone with me and we’re waiting for the sunlight.
Daryl Hall was living on the Upper East Side of New York in early 1975 when he wrote those words to a song he was working on. Sara Allen, his girlfriend at the time, was in the house while Mr. Hall was writing the song.
”That song came completely out of my heart. I’ve said this many times, it was a postcard. It’s short and sweet and to the point,” Mr. Hall says. “She was in the house and I was just writing the song. I don’t think there was a first time that I played it for her. She listened to the evolution of the song.”
The song was “Sara Smile,” and it would go on to become the first Top 10 hit single for Philadelphia soul artists Hall & Oates. It would also end up anchoring the duo’s fourth studio album, Daryl Hall & John Oates, which came to be known as the “Silver Album,” and was released in August 1975.
Mr. Hall recalls that Hall & Oates were touring England when “Sara Smile” broke in the rhythm and blues world, becoming a hit on African-American radio stations. Soon thereafter, the song would cross over and become a hit as well on mainstream radio.
”I’ll never forget the first time I heard it on the radio. I was in California and I heard it being played amidst all the other songs,” Mr. Hall says. “I thought to myself, ‘This doesn’t sound like anything else that’s being played around it.’ It was totally unique and stuck out like a sore thumb — well, maybe not like a sore thumb, but it stuck out. I have a distinct memory of that. It was totally unlike anything else that was on the radio at the time. I’m proud of that.”
Ms. Allen and Mr. Hall would go on to have a 30-year relationship and Ms. Allen would become a co-writer on one of the duo’s biggest hits of the 1980s, “You Make My Dreams,” which reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1981
”Sara Smile,” along with another Hall & Oates hit from the 1970s, “She’s Gone,” have gone on to become staples of the duo’s live performances for four decades. And it’s a safe bet that both songs will be on the set list as Hall & Oates embark on a 21-city summer tour, the details of which were announced last week.
The tour kicks off May 13 in Dallas, Texas, and ends Sept. 23 in Las Vegas. There are two New Jersey shows scheduled: July 10 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden and July 12 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Tickets are on sale now.
The announcement of the tour was made by the Blue Jean Committee, a band that originated on Saturday Night Live and features SNL’s Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. The two had a filmed a “Behind the Music”-style documentary spoof titled “Gentle & Soft: The Story of the Blue Jean Committee” in which Mr. Hall appeared.
When it was time to announce the details of the summer tour, Hall & Oates enlisted the help of the Blue Jean Committee to make a short video about it.
”They suggested that they return the favor. That’s why they did it. Those guys are funny,” Mr. Hall says. “We tour all the time, but these are pretty large arenas that we’re playing this time, so I think that is the difference.”
The success of Hall & Oates, who were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, over a long period of time, has allowed both artists to pursue other projects that have become part of their individual legacies. Each has released solo albums in addition to their H&O work, and Mr. Oates is currently in the process of writing his memoirs.
Mr. Hall has branched out as well, most notably with Live From Daryl’s House, which started as an online series that debuted in 2007 and features Mr. Hall performing with various bands and guest artists at his home in New York. The online show evolved to a cable television show in 2012 on the Palladia network. A new season of episodes will begin airing this spring.
”The truth is, ‘Live From Daryl’s House’ was an experiment,” says Mr. Hall. “Now, I’m about halfway through taping for the new season and I’ve got amazing guests. The bar has been raised, that’s all I can say. I can’t wait for everybody to see it.”
The success of Live From Daryl’s House eventually led to Mr. Hall opening a club called “Daryl’s House” in Pawlings, New York, from which the TV show is now shot.
”It’s fun to have a club,” he says. “I just love going down there to hang out and listen to music. And I feel like I’m participating in helping other people musically and being responsible for this area that I’m in, which is upstate New York, having a place where people can have a good time, have great food and see a lot of great music. I’m also going to expand upon it. I’m going to open other clubs.”
And it all started with Hall & Oates and the continued success of the duo, for what is now approaching 45 years.
”I was very lucky with the fact that I came up at a certain time when you could have a monstrous string of hit records,” Mr. Hall says. “But it’s really hard these days if you’re a new artist to do the kind of things that people of my generation did. So that allowed me to do things that were outside of that because it gave me the notoriety to do it.”
Tickets for the Hall & Oates 2016 summer tour are now on sale. For information on the tour and their solo projects, visit the Hall & Oates website at www.hallandoates.com.