Daryl Hall & John Oates join Tears for Fears in summer tour
Daryl Hall & John Oates and Tears for Fears co-headlining a concert tour fulfills a dream of a combined set list for fans of 1980s popular music. The former were the hottest hit-making duo of the first half of the ’80s, while the latter created the most memorable synth-pop anthems of that decade’s second half. The two acts fit on a double bill like a pop music yin and yang, with contrasts in their respective origins, musical styles, inspirations and career trajectories balancing each other.
The partnership between Daryl Hall and John Oates reaches back 50 years when the two Temple University students met while taking shelter in an elevator during a shootout at a concert in Philadelphia. The lifelong musicians were both immersed in the Philly soul sound, and by 1970 were living and playing together. They signed with Atlantic Records in 1972, and by 1974 scored their first hit with “She’s Gone.” They switched to RCA shortly after and in 1976 landed “Sara Smile” in the top 10. “Rich Girl” reached No. 1 in 1977, but for the next few years chart success would elude the duo that epitomized the “blue-eyed soul” sound.
A decision to produce themselves and a more-focused vision for their “rock and soul” sound led to the hugely successful 1980 album Voices. The first single, a cover of the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” featured Oates sharing lead vocals, but from the follow-up No. 1 single “Kiss on My List” onward it would be Hall’s high tenor that would be ever-present on early ’80s radio. Daryl Hall & John Oates dominated the charts with “You Make My Dreams,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” “Maneater” and “Out of Touch” before shifts in musical styles led to the rise of a very different songwriting duo.
The founders of Tears for Fears, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, bonded over a mutual appreciation of Arthur Janov’s psychotherapy memoir Primal Scream as well as the music of Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel. and in 1981 formed Tears for Fears with keyboardist Ian Stanley. By 1983, it had knocked Michael Jackson’s Thriller out of the No. 1 spot on the U.K. charts with The Hurting. In 1985, Tears for Fears took the world by storm with Songs from the Big Chair, which introduced MTV audiences to the band’s blend of synthesizers and instrumentation, cathartic choruses and Roland Orzabal’s soaring vocals on tracks such as “Shout” and “Head over Heels.”
Tears for Fears would have another hit album, The Seeds of Love, in 1989 but found little chart success in the ’90s, which Daryl Hall and John Oates would experience as well. Still, the appreciation both acts’ fan bases had for their music continued to grow, with the blue-eyed soulsters eventually gaining critical respect for their musical legacy and becoming inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
Now, with Tears for Fears’ following expecting a new album before the end of this year, the timing couldn’t be better to celebrate two major contributors to the soundtrack of the ’80s.
T-Mobile Arena, 7 p.m. July 21, starting at $49.50 plus tax and fee. 888.929.7849