Daryl Hall and John Oates’ secretive legal battle explained

How a tight knit business and creative partnership of over 50 years ended in a bitter legal dispute.

Say it isn’t so!

Everyone’s favourite ’80s pop duo, Hall and Oates, are embroiled in a fully-fledged feud after it was revealed the former bandmates were involved in a secretive legal battle in November 2023. Now, John Oates has said he has “moved on,” from the legal dispute with his former bandmate and has said that he and Daryl Hall may never play together again, but he hasn’t ruled out patching up their five decade-long friendship.

“We have a different strategy for our business lives as well as our personal lives. And that’s that,” John told Rolling Stone in an interview about his solo record, Reunion.

“I don’t follow him on social media,” the rocker added. “In fact, I don’t even know what he’s doing. I hope he’s doing well and I hope he’s having a time of his life, but it’s not part of my life.”’

Daryl Hall and John Oates have entered in a legal battle over a contractual dispute.

Prior to their alleged feud, Daryl Hall and John Oates had been friends, roommates and bandmates for 56 years after meeting as teenagers. Together, they would go on to release a number of iconic hits such as Maneater, You Make My Dreams and Rich Girl.

Here’s everything you need to know about Daryl Hall and John Oates’ legal battle.

Why are Daryl Hall and John Oates in a legal battle?

In November 2023, it was revealed that Daryl Hall, 77, was suing his former bandmate and friend John Oates, 75. At the time, it was virtually unknown what had caused such a serious rift between the duo as the legal filings were sealed – or for Private Eyes only. Daryl had also reportedly filed for a restraining order against John which was granted by the presiding judge.

According to AP, the legal battled ensued when Daryl caught wind that his former musical partner was intending to sell his share of Whole Oats Enterprises LLP to Primary Wave IP Investment Management LLC. The restraining order filed by Daryl means John’s sale is temporarily blocked until an arbiter can mediate between the two.

According to Daryl, John’s intention to sell his share of WOE is a violation of a contractual agreement the pair had entered into in 2021.

Daryl Hall called John Oates’ attempt to sell his share off the Whole Oates Enterprise the “ultimate partnership betrayal”.

“While falsely contending over the last several months that the Oates Trust wanted to maintain ownership in WOE, John Oates and the Co-Trustees engaged in the ultimate partnership betrayal,” Daryl said in a declaration as per AP. “They surreptitiously sought to sell half of the WOE assets without obtaining my written approval.”

In response to this, John said, “Over the years, Daryl has consistently and publicly been adamant about being perceived as an individual rather than as part of a duo or group. Thus, he has insisted on our being known as ‘Daryl Hall and John Oates,’ rather than the more commonly known ‘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.”

Do Hall and Oates get along?

The legal battle shocked many fans seeing as just a year ago the duo were still recording and touring together.

However, John’s assertion that “Daryl has consistently and publicly been adamant about being perceived as an individual rather than as part of a duo or group,” has alluded to fans that a rift may have been forming long before the legal battle emerged.

In 2021 Daryl scrapped plans to record a new album, simply saying, “things have changed”. Then, in 2022 in an interview for Club Random with Bill Maher, Daryl referred to John Oates as solely a business partner rather than a creative partner.

Daryl asserted that John was a business partner but not a creative partner in a 2022 interview.

“You think John Oates is my partner? He’s my business partner. He’s not my creative partner,” Daryl said before diminishing John’s contributions to the band’s hits.

“John and I are brothers, but we are not creative brothers. We are business partners. We made records called Hall and Oates together, but we’ve always been very separate. And that’s a really important thing for me.”

Early in 2023, John released a reggae version of the band’s 1982 hit Maneater with producer Native Wayne Jobson. John later told People that he didn’t think Daryl had listened to the track.

“Nope, I haven’t heard from him… I’m not even sure if he has or hasn’t heard it,” John said at the time.

How did Hall and Oates meet?

John Oates and Daryl Hall met serendipitously in 1967 where they were lead singers of their own respective groups. As Daryl was about to take the stage with his group, The Temptones a fight broke out between rival gangs.

“There were chains and knives and shots rang out. Obviously, the show was over,” Daryl recalled in a 1998 interview with The Independent.

“We were on the upper floor and there was a lift down to the street, so I ran and jumped into it, and John Oates was in it too. I said, “Oh, well, you didn’t get to go on, either. How ya doin’? You go to Temple University, I go to Temple University. See you later, bye.” And that was it, that’s how we met.”

Hall and Oates first met when they were fleeing a violent fight between rival gangs in 1967.

From there, the two became roommates and eventually, bandmates.

“We never had a masterplan. We never said, okay, we’re gonna be the biggest duo of all time. Our first objective was to play, and then it was get a record contract, and then it was go on tour. And it just escalated,” John said about Daryl in the same interview.

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