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.
Since embarking on a long awaited solo career in 1999, John has recorded six 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).
In January 2015 John released Another Good Road (Warner/Elektra), a DVD docu-concert that premiered on Palladia Music Channel. Recorded live in a Nashville studio in one session, the video featured some of Music City’s finest musicians and singers as well as rare, seldom seen footage of John’s family ranch in Colorado; a glimpse into his world behind the music.
John is a diverse musician and songwriter active in Nashville community and beyond. Founded in 2010, he was the creator and executive producer for the “7908 the Aspen Songwriters Festival” at the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO. In 2013, John teamed up with Jim James (My Morning Jacket) to curate the Bonnaroo Super Jam with special guests Britney Howard, Billy Idol, R. Kelly, Larry Graham and the Preservation Hall Jazz band.
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 best seller and has been received with both outstanding critical and fan reviews. After completing an extensive book promotion tour in the spring of 2017, Oates resumed work on an important music project that represents the next exciting phase in his burgeoning solo roots music career. The paperback version with added content will be released May of 2018.
John’s most recent record album: Arkansas was released in February 2018 on Thirty Tigers/PS Records. Originally inspired by the music and legacy of the legendary Mississippi John Hurt, the project expanded to encompass other artists and styles that represent the dawn of American popular music from the early 1920s and 30s. Assembling an band of all star Nashville musicians, Oates shines a light on music from America’s past long before the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Fresh interpretations include the Emmett Miller classic “Anytime” from 1924 as well as the Jimmie Rodgers tune, “Miss the Mississippi and You,” from 1932. Reimagined traditional Delta, country blues and ragtime selections salute legendary artists like Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Blake.
The title track “Arkansas” and “Dig Back Deep” both John Oates original compositions, blend seamlessly with the traditional roots material. Taken together, this record becomes a retrospective of American popular song from the early 1920s to 30s. When asked to describe the sound ,John says, “It’s like Dixieland, dipped in bluegrass, and salted with Delta blues.” This album has opened a path for Oates to rediscover his earliest influences.
JOHN OATES & THE GOOD ROAD BAND “ LIVE IN NASHVILLE “
John went on the road with the “ Good Road Band “ the very same musicians that played on the album and developed a critically acclaimed show which he captured during a live performace at the legendary Station Inn in Nashville in June of 2020. The recording, to be released in September 2020 displays the amazing talent of these world class players and captures the energy of not only the music of “Arkansas” but introduces new original songs as well. “ This is the culmination of two years of touring and you can hear the players interacting and working together in a way that is astounding. “
Over the years John has also been involved in motorsports as an amateur and professional racing driver and continues his passion for all things automotive with his involvement with many high end events such as Porsche’s 70th. Anniversary at PEC Atlanta, being a judge at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance and as well as Werkes Reunion in Monterey California. His personal award winning car collection has garnered international publicity and he has been a sought after guest on numerous TV and Internet shows.
John continues to tour around the world with Daryl Hall, performs at high end corporate events as both a musician and public speaker. He is also continuing work on film and video projects as well as writing and producing new artists. John and his wife Aimee reside in Nashville, Tennessee and Aspen Colorado.