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“I Can’t Go for That” Hall & Oates Drama

Daryl Hall and John Oates outside of the Toppop Studio Hilversum Netherlands, January 1976 after they recorded a video for their hitsingle 'Sara Smile'

If you, like me, love listening to a good Hall & Oates song, you sadly won’t be seeing them sing together any time soon. Daryl Hall currently has a temporary restraining order against John Oates that goes into effect on November 30. Why? No one was quite sure up until recently.

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The duo, who wrote songs like “You Make My Dreams Come True,” have been at each other’s throats, and this latest battle seems to be the worst of the worst. Previously, the court documents were sealed, but thanks to a judge in Tennessee, we now know that a restraining order was put in place because Hall wanted to keep Oates from selling his share of their joint musical venture to Primary Wave Music.

In Hall & Oates’ words, “I can’t go for that. No can do.” Mainly because I’d like to see the chaos of Hall & Oates performing live someday, and this does very much stop that from happening. The news about the restraining order is certainly concerning, and they haven’t performed anywhere together recently, either.

This news does fit with how Hall has been talking about Oates recently, however. On Bill Maher’s “Club Random” podcast, Hall said, “You think John Oates is my partner? … He’s my business partner. He’s not my creative partner.” He went on to say, “John and I are brothers, but we are not creative brothers. We are business partners. We made records called Hall & Oates together, but we’ve always been very separate, and that’s a really important thing for me.”

Despite now knowing why the restraining order came to be, we still don’t know much of anything about the details, but Hall is making it clear that he thinks he was the brains behind Hall & Oates’ success, also saying, “I did all those [harmonies] … That’s all me,” about songs like “Kiss on My List.”

What is happening in 2023?

Daryl Hall having a restraining order against John Oates was not on my 2023 bingo card. Why exactly has it escalated to a point where Hall felt the need to get a temporary restraining order against Oates? Everything comes down to Hall trying to keep control of their music.

Given their history, this news isn’t all that surprising. In 2022, on the same podcast, Hall called Oates his “subordinate” because he doesn’t see him as an equal. So, Hall has been looking down on Oates for quite some time, even though they were supposed to be a duo.

Someone better hire a Private Eye(s) to sort this out … right? Otherwise, Hall is just going to end up being a “Maneater.” In the end, this entire case just seems a little “Out of Touch.” (I’m done, I promise.) Maybe what we need is for Garfunkel & Oates to come back and take their rightful place. This drama is too much.

(featured image: Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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