John Oates Is 'Extremely Proud and Grateful' of Hall & Oates but Says It's a 'Miracle' They 'Lasted That Long' (Exclusive)

The Grammy-nominated musician says that "after 50 years, people grow apart"

<p> Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/Getty Images</p> Daryl Hall and John Oates ca. 1980

Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/Getty Images

Daryl Hall and John Oates ca. 1980

Though John Oates’ relationship with his former bandmate Daryl Hall may have soured in recent years, the musician still thinks of their time together fondly.

Oates, 76, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that he has “unbelievable memories” of the whirlwind success he and Hall found in the 1970s and ‘80s, and that he remains proud of the magic they made together.

“[It was] an experience that cannot be replicated,” he says. “A real bond between two young guys who were trying to achieve something and found a partner who could help do that. It really very seldom happens in life. So I’m extremely proud and grateful, and really, I have a lot of respect for the body of work that we created and the unbelievable experiences that we had together.”

Still, the duo released their first album in 1972 — and Oates, who will release his sixth solo album Reunion on May 17, admits that after such a long time, things can change.

“At the same time, after 50 years, people grow apart,” he says. “And I always thought it was a miracle that it lasted that long.”

Related: John Oates Says He's 'Trying to Lead My Best Life' amid Daryl Hall Lawsuit (Exclusive)

<p>David McClister</p> John Oates in Nashville in 2020

David McClister

John Oates in Nashville in 2020

Together, Hall and Oates sold more than 80 million albums, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. With songs like “Rich Girl” and “Maneater,” they were among the most successful rock duos in history, putting out 29 Top 40 hits between 1976 and 1990.

But in November, Hall, 77, filed a lawsuit and was granted a restraining order against Oates, in an attempt to stop Oates’ alleged plans to sell his share of a joint business venture to a third party. Hall believes the sale would be a violation of a business agreement previously reached by the duo, and said the sale would cause him “imminent irreparable harm.”

Oates says that he and Hall “never really” had a problem butting heads creatively, but that things got tense when it came to the business side of things.

<p>Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns/Getty Images</p> Daryl Hall and John Oates performing in 2018

Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns/Getty Images

Daryl Hall and John Oates performing in 2018

Related: Daryl Hall Granted Temporary Restraining Order Against John Oates After Filing Mysterious Lawsuit

“I think what happened was our partnership was established 50 years ago, and the documentation of that partnership was outdated and completely irrelevant to the people we became 50 years later,” he says. “And when it was time to reevaluate how to modernize and how to make that partnership function in a better way, we had changed so radically as people that there was really no way to compromise on that.”

Still, he feels good about the music he made with Hall, regardless of where their relationship stands (They last played together in 2022, and Oates says they have “no plans” to ever play together again).

“Those songs will remain as the soundtrack for people’s lives. The songs don’t go away,” he says. “And that’s the beauty of this long-term partnership. The thing that we created will endure. That’s the important thing. I’m proud of everything we’ve done.”

For more on John Oates, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

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