The 10 greatest Hall and Oates songs ever, ranked

28 February 2022, 16:52 | Updated: 28 February 2022, 17:42

Hall and Oates
Hall and Oates. Picture: Alamy

By Tom Eames

Hall & Oates are right up there as one of the greatest pop duos of all time. And we reckon they're a bit underrated.

Daryl Hall and John Oates have sold over 40 million records in their career, and were one of the biggest groups of the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2003, Hall & Oates were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. Quite right too!

Here, we choose the duo's top 10 songs - do you agree?

  1. One on One

    This US top 10 hit is known for its minimalistic and synthesizer-based production, while its lyrics feature various sports metaphors to describe seduction.

    It was famously used in various NBA commercials back in the '80s.

  2. Private Eyes

    Taken from the pair’s 1981 album of the same name, this went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts but only reached number 32 in the UK.

    The song is accompanied by a classic ‘80s music video - if you haven’t watched it yet, you’re missing out.

  3. Family Man

    Mike Oldfield originally released this catchy song about a man who is being propositioned by a prostitute. It was the '80s.

    A year later, Hall & Oates scored a top 10 hit with a brilliant cover version with slightly altered lyrics.

  4. Kiss on My List

    This was Hall & Oates' second US number one single, and was released in early 1981.

    It was written with the intention of Janna Allen, the sister of Hall's longtime girlfriend Sara Allen, singing it.

    However, when Hall's manager found the tape lying around the studio, he insisted that Hall and Oates record the song themselves.

    Hall has called it an anti-love song, with the song title being tongue-in-cheek sarcasm in that the kiss is not that important.

  5. Rich Girl

    This song is about a spoiled girl who can rely on her parents' money to do whatever she wants, and was rumored to be about the newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.

    However, it was based on a spoiled heir to a fast-food chain who was an ex-boyfriend of Daryl Hall's girlfriend, Sara Allen. Speaking of Sara...

  6. Sara Smile

    'Sara Smile’ is a song Hall wrote for his then girlfriend Sara Allen. The couple were together for almost 30 years before breaking up in 2001.

    It was the duo’s became their first Top 10 hit in America, reaching number four on the US chart in June 1976.

  7. I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)

    'I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)' was the second hit single from the duo’s album Private Eyes.

    It went to number one in the US and did quite well in the UK too, peaking at number eight.

    John Oates said that the song "is about the music business. That song is really about not being pushed around by big labels, managers, and agents and being told what to do, and being true to yourself creatively."

    It was later heavily sampled in Simply Red's 2003 hit 'Sunrise'.

  8. Out of Touch

    This one didn’t do as well in the UK, reaching number 48 (it deserved more than that!).

    However, the US couldn’t get enough of them and this, their lead single from the album Big Bam Boom, went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 number one - it was to be their last number one on the chart.

    John Oates has said that he came up with the chorus while randomly playing with a synthesizer that he did not know how to use. He thought it could sell it to the Stylistics, but their producer told him it should be a hit for Hall & Oates themselves.

  9. Maneater

    'Maneater' was the biggest hit of Hall & Oates’ career and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it stayed for four weeks. It reached number six in the UK.

    John Oates has said that while it is natural to assume the lyrics are about a woman, the song actually was originally written "about NYC in the ’80s. It's about greed, avarice, and spoiled riches. But we have it in the setting of a girl because it's more relatable. It's something that people can understand..."

    No relation to the Nelly Furtado song of the same name...

  10. You Make My Dreams

    This catchy number was taken from Hall & Oates’ album Voices. It reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and cemented the duo’s place as both great writers and performers

    The song has been widely used in movie soundtracks, including The Wedding Singer and 500 Days Of Summer.