John Oates opens up about legal battle with Daryl Hall over joint business

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

John Oates is sharing his side of the story over his legal battle with longtime creative partner Daryl Hall.

The legendary rock duo, known as Daryl Hall & John Oates, have been business partners for over 50 years and are famous for their huge hits like “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams.”

Last year, Hall filed a lawsuit against Oates alleging that Oates attempted to sell his share of their jointly owned company, “Whole Oats Enterprises” without Hall’s permission.

During an interview with Michael Strahan, which was aired on “Good Morning America” on Friday, Oates said he was indeed trying to sell his share of the company and explained the reason behind his decision.

You know what? Daryl has always wanted to be his own man.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna give him the opportunity to do that

John Oates

“When this whole situation got mired in legality and really complex legal wranglings, I got frustrated,” he said. “And I said, ‘You know what? Daryl has always wanted to be his own man.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna give him the opportunity to do that. If I sell my half, he can either, you know, he can do what he wants.'”

He continued, “And it was kinda ruining my life, to be honest with you…I wasn’t happy. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll just step aside,’ people do it all the time. I mean, you look at all the artists who are selling all their catalogs…it’s pretty common…It’s not that big a deal. But Daryl didn’t like the idea that I would sell to a certain third party.”

According to court documents filed on Nov. 29, Hall claimed Oates’ plan was unauthorized because he allegedly did not receive Hall’s consent, which Hall said Oates is required to do. Hall said in the documents that Oates and his co-defendants engaged in the transaction “completely behind my back and without my written approval.”

Hall, who said in his court filing that he was “blindsided” by the ordeal, also called Oates’ actions the “ultimate partnership betrayal,” noting that paperwork shows negotiations between Oates and Primary Wave “began, at latest, on October 2, 2023, when a nondisclosure agreement was signed.” He added that he first learned of the deal on Oct. 20, 2023.

Hall went on to claim in the court documents that “most egregiously,” Oates did this while they were in the middle of a mediation, which began in August, to determine what was going to happen with the assets of Whole Oates Enterprises amid the duo’s “divorce” and the “dissolution” of their LLP.

As a result, Hall claimed Oates’ actions represent a “completely clandestine and bad faith move.”

Asked if Oates also views it that way, he replied, “Not at all. I don’t.”

“Because we’ve always looked at ourselves as individuals working together,” he said. “And I felt like I had the right to do that. But, you know, he didn’t.”

Reflecting on their partnership, Oates shared he and Hall had not worked together creatively in over 20 years.

“The only thing we did together was play concerts where we just went out there and trotted out the hits,” he said.

Prior to the lawsuit, Oates said he and Hall “never really had a lot of disagreements.”

“We never really talked to each other very much,” he recalled. “Over the past 20 years, we’d show up at a show individually, walk on stage, play, and then we’d go our separate ways…it really wasn’t as tight as people might, you know, would like to imagine in their, kind of a fantasy imagination of our relationship.”

When Strahan inquired if the duo, Hall and Oates, would ever perform together again, Oates answered, “Not from my point of view, but you need to ask Daryl how he feels about it.”

Speaking to Variety in an interview published earlier this month, Hall discussed the legal issue with Oates, saying the situation hit him by surprise.

All I can say is people change and sometimes you don’t really know someone like you thought you did

Daryl Hall

“I don’t know, man – all I can say is people change and sometimes you don’t really know someone like you thought you did,” Hall added.

In response to Hall’s comment, Oates told “GMA,” that Hall “should have looked a little closer.”

Oates also shared that in his opinion, he believes Hall has “changed a lot.”

Despite their differences and the legal trouble, Oates said he still loves Hall like a brother.

I love you like a brother…Brothers have disagreements, families grow apart

John Oates

In his message to Hall, Oates said, “I love you like a brother, if I’m talking to him directly, but you know what? Brothers have disagreements, families grow apart…I would say, I wish him the best. I hope that he has everything he wants in life. And that he can pursue his dream of being a respected solo artist, which I believe is something that he’s always wanted.”

Although solo success is something Oates has also wanted as he released his 8th solo album titled, “Reunion,” this week.

He noted that the album was recorded in Nashville, a city in which he became a resident after moving there over a decade ago.

Oates told Strahan that his life in the Music City has had so much influence on his new music.

“My move to Nashville has really changed everything for me,” he explained. “Because before I met Daryl Hall I was kind of a roots, acoustic guitar, blues, folk musician. When we met we kind of combined our individual influences and created something totally new.”

“But that guy, that musician was always there in the background, kind of idling, you know? And when I moved to Nashville, I tapped back into it, and it really gave me a new lease on my musical life,” he added. “Working on the new album, Oates said it is his first time that he was able to “really commit to a project and to a future of creativity in music.”

“The title track was inspired by my 100-year-old father, who told me he was going to reunite with Mom, who had passed away years before. And when he said that to me I thought of the word reunion, what it really means,” he explained. “And I said, ‘Reuniting.’ And I realized what was happening was I was reuniting with my musical self and my personal [self] as a man and as a musician.”

“It’s the most personal thing I’ve ever done,” he added of the album.

Discussing what his legacy will be, Oates said he wants “to break down barriers.”

“I’m looking to express myself honestly… be a good father, be a good husband. I wanna be a good friend and I wanna enjoy my life,” he said.

ABC News has reached out to Hall for comment but has yet to hear back.

Copyright © 2024 ABC News Internet Ventures.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.