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John William Oates (born April 7, 1948) is an American rock, R&B and soul guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer best known as half of the rock and soul duo, Hall & Oates (with Daryl Hall).
Although Oates's main role in the duo was guitarist, he also co-wrote many of the top 10 songs that they recorded, including (with Hall): "Sara Smile" (the song refers to Hall's then-girlfriend, Sara Allen), "She's Gone", and "Out of Touch", as well as (with Allen and Hall): "You Make My Dreams", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "Adult Education". He also sang lead vocals on several more singles in the Hot 100, such as "How Does It Feel to Be Back", "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (a remake of the 1965 song performed by The Righteous Brothers that was written by Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil), on which Oates shared lead vocals with Hall, and "Possession Obsession" (with Allen & Hall).
Especially on the 70's output, the songwriting on the albums was usually very evenly divided, with Oates writing many of the tracks on his own apart from many co-wtitten songs. And on "Daryl Hall & John Oates" - released in 1975 and the duo's first top-20 album - most of the songs were co-written, along with two songs by Oates and one by Hall, making it the only album where Oates is credited on more songs than Hall.
In 1986, Oates contributed the song "(She's the) Shape of Things to Come" on the soundtrack to the 1986 film, About Last Night. Oates also co-wrote and sang backup on the song "Electric Blue", recorded by the Australian band Icehouse, which was a Billboard top 10 hit. He also co-wrote, produced and sang duet with the Canadian group The Parachute Club on the 1987 song "Love is Fire" which was a top 30 hit in Canada.
Oates played the character "Dirty D" in episode two of series one of the eponymously named comedy TV series Garfunkel and Oates.
Oates was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004, and in 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of Hall & Oates. His memoir, Change of Seasons, was published in 2017.
Last Updated: July 30, 2018