Thursday April 7, 1948.
Al Jolson was voted most popular singer in America by Variety magazine and Columbia Records introduced the new 33 1/3 long-playing record album. At 1 A.M. that day, I was introduced to the world at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, starring as the first child born to Anna and Alfred Oates.
– Excerpted from Change of Seasons
John Oates is one half of the best selling duo of all time, Hall & Oates, as well as an accomplished solo artist. Singing from the time he could talk and playing the guitar since the age of five, John Oates was destined to be a musician. Born in New York City, his family moved to a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA in the early 1950s, a move that would change the course of his life.
Soaking up the sounds of the 60s, John was influenced by the nascent folk scene, bluegrass, delta blues, and ragtime guitar styles, while also immersing himself in R&B legends such as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. One of his biggest mentors was his guitar teacher Jerry Ricks, who had spent time on the road with Mississippi John Hurt and Son House, and introduced John to the music of Doc Watson and Reverend Gary Davis, passing down their signature finger and flatpicking styles.
John Oates met Daryl Hall while attending Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. The two began collaborating and playing music together, marking the beginning of their historic partnership. Since their formation in the early 70s, Daryl Hall & John Oates have gone on to record 21 albums, which have sold over 80 million units, making them the most successful duo in rock history. They have scored 10 number one records, over 20 Top 40 hits, and have toured the world for decades. Their involvement in the original “Live Aid” concert and the groundbreaking “We Are The World” charity recording have further established them as legendary artists, who have personally and through their music, stood the test of time.
In addition to their numerous American Music, MTV awards, and multiple Grammy nominations, in 2005 they were inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame and in May of 2008 were presented the prestigious BMI Icon Award for their outstanding career achievement in songwriting. In April 2014, Hall & Oates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In April 2017 John released his memoir “Change of Seasons “ co-written with Chris Epting and published by St. Martin’s Press. The acclaimed title was an Amazon bestseller and has been received with both outstanding critical and fan reviews. Oates shares his highs, lows, triumphs, and failures. He takes the reader on a wild ride through all the eras, personalities, and music that has shaped him into what he is. Re-released in paperback with new material in May 2018, “Change of Seasons” takes the reader from the early childhood days of John Oates to the burgeoning career of Hall & Oates, to Oates’ move to Nashville.
Since embarking on a long-awaited solo career in 1999, John has recorded eight solo albums: Phunk Shui, 100 Miles of Life, Mississippi Mile, a live album called The Bluesville Sessions, and Good Road To Follow, (which featured collaborations with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Vince Gill, Nathan Chapman, Jim Lauderdale, and Jerry Douglas), the critically-acclaimed Arkansas, and the EP John Oates with The Good Road Band- Live.
Arkansas, released in February of 2018, was originally inspired by the music and legacy of the legendary Mississippi John Hurt. The project grew to encompass other artists and styles that represent the dawn of American popular music. Stylistically diverse and eclectic, the collection features a full band that was put together to bring the full range and flavors of classic American musical styles to life. As well, Oates crafted a number of original songs for the Arkansas album; selections actually inspired by the process of digging deep into the sonic soil of authentic roots music.
To celebrate the joy of touring with the talented group of Nashville players in support of the album, Arkansas, in August of 2018, John Oates released the EP John Oates with The Good Road Band – Live. The tracks for live EP were hand-picked by Oates from his favorite performances from his recent solo tour. The shows consist of an impressive line-up of Americana musicians, including Guthrie Trapp on electric guitar, Steve Mackey on bass, Josh Day on drums and percussion, Nathaniel Smith on cello, Casey Campbell on mandolin, and Adam Ollendorff on pedal steel. The re-edited version of “Pallet Soft and Low” from Arkansas includes Russ Pahl on pedal steel and Sam Bush on mandolin. With this incredible band, Oates continues to delight audiences with roots, ragtime, and blues from the earliest days of American popular music.
John resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Aimee.