John Oates says partnership with Daryl Hall was ‘ruining my life’ amid legal battles

John Oates has explained his reason for wanting to sell his shares of his jointly owned company with longtime bandmate Daryl Hall, a decision that has sparked a months-long legal battle between the former Hall & Oates duo.

Last November, Hall, 77, filed a lawsuit against Oates, 76, after the latter tried to sell his share of Whole Oats Enterprises LLP without Hall’s permission. Hall called Oates’s plan the “ultimate partnership betrayal”.

Now, Oates is sharing his side of the story, explaining why he tried to do so.

“When this whole situation got mired in legality and really complex legal wranglings, I got frustrated,” he told Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan in a new interview, which aired on Friday (17 May).

“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.’

“And it was kinda ruining my life, to be honest with you…I wasn’t happy,” Oates continued.

“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.”

Daryl Hall and John Oates perform at Ryman Auditorium on 2 June 2013 (Getty Images)
Daryl Hall and John Oates perform at Ryman Auditorium on 2 June 2013 (Getty Images)

In legal filings, Hall accused Oates and his co-defendants of trying to go forward with the transaction “completely behind my back and without my written approval”. Hall said the attempted transaction was unauthorised because he had not given Oates his consent, which he said was required.

Hall also noted in the lawsuit that documents show negotiations between Oates and the third party “began, at latest, on October 2, 2023, when a nondisclosure agreement was signed”. He claimed that he hadn’t learnt about the deal until 20 October 2023. He called Oates’s move “completely clandestine” and in “bad faith”.

When asked if he sees the situation in the same way, Oates said he did not.

“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.”

Oates added that they hadn’t worked together creatively in more than 20 years. “The only thing we did together was play concerts where we just went out there and trotted out the hits,” he said.

John Oates speaks to Michael Strahan (Good Morning America/YouTube)
John Oates speaks to Michael Strahan (Good Morning America/YouTube)

“We never really talked to each other very much,” Oates said. “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.”

Strahan then asked if the pair would ever perform together again, with Oates responding: “Not from my point of view, but you need to ask Daryl how he feels about it.”

The Independent has contacted Hall’s representative for comment.

Earlier this month, Hall had confirmed to Variety the end of Hall & Oates.

“Difficulties can be made from things that aren’t difficult, and then it goes to a place where it can never come back from. It’s unfortunate and untimely, but some things just change,” he said.

“People rewrite history and harbor thoughts you had no idea about.”