“We’ve always looked at ourselves as individuals working together, and I felt like I had the right to do that. But, you know, he didn’t”: John Oates on his legal battle with Daryl Hall and why the only Reunion on the agenda is the title of his new album

As he releases his new album, titled Reunion, John Oates has given an interview with Good Morning America that suggests that anyone hoping for one of those with erstwhile bandmate Daryl Hall might be in for a long wait.

To bring you up to speed, Hall filed a lawsuit and restraining order against Oates in 2023 when he learned that his former creative partner was planning to sell his share of the duo’s publishing company, Whole Oates Enterprises, to Primary Wave Music. 

Hall objected to the move and said in his declaration that this was a “completely clandestine and bad faith move” and “the ultimate partnership betrayal”.

As you might expect, Oates has a rather different take on the matter, telling GMA: “We’ve always looked at ourselves as individuals working together, and I felt like I had the right to do that. But, you know, he didn’t.”

Oates also suggested that, although Hall and Oates have performed together in recent years, it’s been some time since they worked together in any other capacity, and that the bond between them wasn’t as strong as some fans might have thought.

“Over the past 20 years we’d show up at a show individually, walk on stage, play, and then we’d go our separate ways,” Oates confirmed. “It really wasn’t as tight as people might, you know, would like to imagine in their kind of a fantasy imagination of our relationship.”

Hall and Oates

(Image credit: Dimitri Hakke/Redferns/Getty Images)

Oates also suggested that, by getting out of the Hall and Oates business, he might actually be doing Hall a favour.

“When this whole situation got mired in legality and really complex legal wranglings, I got frustrated,” he recalls. “And I said, ‘You know what? Daryl has always wanted to be his own man.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna give him the opportunity to do that. If I sell my half, he can do what he wants.'”

Of course, there have been plenty of examples of bands who’ve had legal disputes and ended up reforming, but when asked if he and Hall could ever reunite, Oates replied: “Not from my point of view, but you’ll need to ask Daryl how he feels about it.”

Despite the current animosity between the two men, Oates says that he wishes his former musical well. Asked by GMA what he’d say to Hall if he was watching the interview, Oates replied: “I love you like a brother, but you know what? Brothers have disagreements, families grow apart. I would say, I wish him the best. I hope that he has everything he wants in life, and that he can pursue his dream of being a respected solo artist, which I believe is something that he’s always wanted.”

Oates moved to Nashville in the early 2000s, where he says he was embraced by the Americana community that he found there. His new album, Reunion, “pays homage to his earliest influences but looks forward with the maturity and perspective of who he is today.” 

John Oates’ current tour continues at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May. 

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.