Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Secret Life of Hall & Oates

The legendary Pop-Rock duo Hall & Oates, have had a successful career for more than 4 decades. It has been 20-plus years since this ROLLING STONE cover with the salacious headline, "The Secret Life of Hall & Oates", hit the newsstands, obviously intending to exploit long time rumours of one or both musicians being gay. The rumours seemed to have originated from the artwork which graced the cover of their 1975 album entitled, DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES. This highly stylized artwork was meant to be edgy and very modern, reflecting the unisex, metallic glam-rock style that was popular in the era (think David Bowie's 1974 album DIAMOND DOGS).
The music however, was more in the vein of soft pop-rock, as evidenced by their classic track "Sara Smile", that was featured on the album. Unexpectedly, the record company's attempt to promote the duo as hip and edgy backfired, resulting in them being perceived by some as too feminine and worse, gay. The gay rights movement of the late 1970's with it's disco anthemed life force was in full-swing, leading many in the macho world of rock music to feel very threatened and looking for any excuse or anyone to lash out at. This bashing culminated with the 1979 Disco Demolition Night in Chicago.

Hall & Oates were not disco artists, their only 'crime' was that they were 'pretty boy' purveyors of pop music. Rumors are strange beasts that seem to never die... was the ROLLING STONE article an exposé on Hall & Oates' coming out? No. Neither Hall nor Oates is gay. But the magazine cover did make people gossip and spread further rumors. Some things just never change, do they?