Perhaps you’re asking what did it take to break me out of a six-month blogging/social media slump? It wasn’t our continuing adventures in home improvement (Which include the good news of my still having 10 fingers following my first use of a miter saw). It’s not stories from the new gig (And there’s a lot to say, but now more than ever I gotta stand by my ‘No Work Rant’ editorial policy). It’s not that quadrennial exercise in democracy called an election (I’m itching to dive into this one, but my editorial policy also prohibits me from adding to the terabytes of opinions transiting the inter webs).
Well, you may be asking by now, what is it that’s inspired me to log back onto the blogosphere? How about a meeting that was 40 years in the making! Yes, I finally met one of my all-time favorite artists. I was face-to-face with John Oates when his book tour rolled into Philadelphia.
What stood out most about meeting John (Exploiting the first-name basis like we’re old friends) wasn’t the memories of too many concerts to remember or those occasional times (Well, actually, often) when I pretend my car is the old Philly Spectrum or the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, and I throw my H&O playlist on shuffle and add my unique vocal stylings to the duo’s songbook.
What stood out most was how good John looked for a 68-year old dude. Bright eyed, tanned, with a sprinkle of grey (How I hope to look when I’m that old – well minus the tanned part).
What also stood out – even if just for the moment in time I was in the same space – was how many events in my life – good, bad and all in between – were accompanied with one song or another from the Hall and Oates catalog.
She’s Gone was the soundtrack for more than a couple of breakups along the way (As was a deep, album cut Ain’t Gonna Take it This Time). Kiss on My List played on Lucky 99 FM in Atlantic City, blaring out of the speakers of our old Plymouth Duster in the summer of ‘81 shortly after I got my driver’s license. Maneater was a hit back in late 82, when I was trying to figure out where I fit in as a college freshman. When I think of those days after my father’s death in 89, I think about the entire Change of Seasons album that was released shortly thereafter.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Meeting John Oates was more than simply getting a book signed. It felt like seeing an old friend – a friend who’s been around, hanging out on the periphery of my life for the past 40 years.
Oh, and by the way, the book is a pretty darn good read!
I treated myself to a copy of Daryl Hall and John Oates Live in Dublin performance DVD. You all know how much I dig those guys, so I won’t weigh you down with a review of the concert.
The guys offered up a deep track (Unless you’re a long time fan) you’ve never heard before. It’s a song from 1976 called “Back Together Again.”
The song’s chorus is punctuated by Daryl Hall’s smooth falsetto. Fast forward nearly 40 years to the performance of the same song from the Live from Dublin concert.
You’ll notice that Daryl’s falsetto is a little grittier. And that’s to be expected from a vocalist who’s been in the game longer than some readers of these pages have been on this planet.
So, where am I going with this?
I’ll tell you, but first, please buckle your seat belts because we’re going to take a quick trip down the philosophical highway!
Daryl Hall’s seasoned falsetto is a metaphor for what many of us 50+ midlifers are experiencing.
Can we still hit the high notes of our youth? Probably not (And in some cases, why would we want to? Some songs from our old catalog may best remain unsung – if you know what I’m saying!). But our more seasoned voices are still strong enough to rock the house.
And to keep this musical analogy going, kinda like an encore. (Get those lighters up!),
I’m sure many of my fellow performers in the band that is midlife would agree, we’re at a meaningful point in our existence where it’s more fulfilling to please a small amount of true fans in an intimate club setting, versus trying to make everyone happy in an overflowing stadium.
Ouch, I should have warmed up before that stretch. I think I got a groin pull!
Anyway, rock on Daryl! And to my fellow midlife band mates, yeah, our falsetto may have a little age on it, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop singing our song!
Don’t run away, this isn’t another blatant example of loyal fan worship of the greatest duo in musical history – I’m only using them, or better stated one of them as an example.
Allow me to explain.
The ‘one of them’ is John Oates, who was the subject of a recent article discussing – among other things – why the duo’s biggest hits feature Daryl Hall’s lead vocals.
According to John (because in my mind we’re on a first name basis),
“…over the years…Daryl’s voice became synonymous with the sound of Hall and Oates…”
Stay with me, we’re almost there. John goes on to say,
“Daryl’s voice just connected on radio…It connected in a way that made us popular — and I had to make some decisions with some of the songs…Should I have Daryl sing it and have the possibility of having a No. 1 record or should I sing it and there’s a good possibility it might not be a No. 1 record?”
“And that’s maybe why Daryl and I have existed over the years, because I was willing to make a lot of those hard decisions.”
Where am I going with this?
John made decisions that were best for the band, best for business and best for their relationship.
Setting personal interests aside and doing something for the greater good? Definitely!
And that’s my point, sometimes it takes a healthy amount of self-confidence to enable us to put ego aside and look at the bigger picture and the subsequent bigger benefits.
In most cases, of course, we have to look out for number one (song cue), but every now and then, it makes sense to be number 1.5 or 2.
Now don’t get all worked up. I’m by no means suggesting selling out, tossing aside your principles or allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. I just think there are times – in our personal and business lives – when we have to step back, be confident and comfortable in our own skin and think less about what’s best for us, but what’s best for the – take your pick – relationship, partnership, business, and I’m sure there are others.
And yes, sometimes it’s okay to let someone else sing lead vocals.
(Alright, just a little fan worship. Even though Daryl (again first name basis) sang the big hits, John was no slouch vocally – check out a couple these deep cuts for proof)
I admit I’ve been a little lazy sticking to a consistent schedule with regard to updating these pages.
Excuses solve little, so I don’t plan to make any. Let’s just say I will work on improving my digital discipline in the blossoming new year.
For several weeks, I’ve been wanting to crow about this fantastic news, but because I’ve been such a loser for not staying on schedule, I’m a bit behind with this, but did you hear that Daryl Hall and John Oates are finally getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
My admiration of Daryl and John (as we long time fans call them) has been chronicled ad nauseam in these pages – most recently the mustache story. I won’t retell the story of seeing them live for the first time way back in the early 80s at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby PA. Nor will I go into the dreary story of how the wah-wah pedaled rhythm guitar of She’s Gone served as the soundtrack to every heart shattering breakup since my late teens (Well, they weren’t all heart shattering!).
And lastly and most importantly, because I’m four months away from 50 and less and less interested in justifying my musical tastes, I’m not going to defend why I’m such a screaming fan of this storied duo.
I’ll just revel in the celebration of a long overdue recognition, and I hope you will too!