John Oates Reveals Legal Dispute with Ex-Partner Daryl Hall

Legendary duo faces discord beyond the music scene.

by Nouman Rasool
John Oates Reveals Legal Dispute with Ex-Partner Daryl Hall
© Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

The legendary musical duo Hall & Oates, creators of such famous hits like "You Make My Dreams Come True" and "Rich Girl," have gone a little off-key as John Oates reveals the beginnings of a legal battle with former partner Daryl Hall.

Theirs is a take on personal and professional strains that become extremely public because they have not done any new music together for almost two decades. Their partnership, once a chart-topping powerhouse, ceased creating new albums after their 2003 release "Do It for Love" and a subsequent Christmas compilation in 2006 featuring just a couple of original tracks.

The split widened into a legal battle in November 2023 when Hall filed a lawsuit to prevent Oates from selling his stake in their joint venture, Whole Oats Enterprises. Hall's legal move, which included a request for a restraining order, stemmed from a belief that Oates' potential sale would breach their longstanding business agreement.

Oates Divests Shares

Oates, expressing his frustration with the entangled legalities of their business, explained his decision to divest his share. "You know what? Daryl has always wanted to be his own man. I’m gonna give him the opportunity to do that.

If I sell my half, he can do what he wants," Oates remarked during a candid interview on "Good Morning America." The move, however, was not well received by Hall, who felt "blindsided," as described in court documents. His legal team slammed the sale as "the ultimate partnership betrayal," highlighting the deep personal and professional rifts that have emerged.

Oates pointed out the common industry trend of artists selling their music catalogs, downplaying the gravity of his intended action. "It’s not that big a deal," he said, although he admitted that Hall disapproved of the buyer, whom Oates chose not to name.

Reflecting on the dynamics of musical duos, Hall expressed to The Times in 2022 his frustrations with constant comparisons and the challenges it posed, likening it to the dynamics seen in famous comedy pairs but with more profound implications in the music world.

Despite the legal turmoil, both artists have pursued solo careers with considerable success. Hall has enjoyed solo hits, including "Philly Mood," while Oates recently explored his musical roots with a new album, "Reunion," inspired by blues and folk influences predating his partnership with Hall.