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Why Daryl Hall Just Got a Restraining Order Against John Oates

Why the duo behind "Maneater" and "Rich Girl" are at odds.

The names Hall & Oates will forever be linked, but the two musicians are certainly more distant from one another these days. As reported by the New York Post, on Nov. 16, Daryl Hall filed a lawsuit against John Oates, his trust, and its co-trustees and was granted a restraining order against his musical partner the next day. Initially, the court documents were sealed and it was unclear exactly what the matter involved, but now, the documents have been revealed and they provide insight as to what the "Private Eyes" artists are at odds over.

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According to the New York Post, Hall, 77, claims that 75-year-old Oates' plan to sell his part of their joint venture, Whole Oats Enterprises LLP, to Primary Wave Music would violate a business agreement between them. In the documents, Hall alleges that a letter of intent Oates shared with Primary Wave violated their arrangement and that the "entire Unauthorized Transaction is the product of an indisputable breach of contract." By granting the temporary restraining order, a judge blocked the sale for 15 days or until an arbitrator makes a decision on the matter. As reported by the Associated Press, Primary Wave Music has already owned a "significant interest" in the Hall & Oates catalog for over 15 years.

TMZ reported on Nov. 23 that Oates and Hall have been in arbitration in an attempt to figure out who can sing which of their songs as a solo artist, along with sorting out financial issues. Oates performed several shows earlier in November that included Hall & Oates songs before two of the concerts, taking place on Nov. 9 and 10, were postponed. Announcing the cancelation of the Nov. 9 show on Instagram, Lone Tree, Colorado's Lone Tree Arts Center wrote that it was "due to artist illness" and that Oates would instead perform on Jan. 6, 2024. Notably, Hall sang the band's hits at a Nov. 23 show in Tokyo, as reported by TMZ. Oates next has a concert set for Dec. 28 in Cedaredge, Colorado.

The Associated Press reported that it remains unclear if the lawsuit is primarily about the band's catalog. A court date is set for Thursday, Nov. 30.

Daryl Hall and John Oates at their Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony in 2016
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

As reported by Vulture, Hall recently spoke about Oates on Bill Maher's podcast, Club Random, and made it clear that they were not on good terms. "He's my business partner. He's not my creative partner," Hall said in the September 2022 interview. "We made records called Hall & Oates together, but we've always been very separate and that's a really important thing for me."

As for Oates, in an October 2023 interview with The Big Takeover, he said, "Daryl and I are pretty much finished touring. I don't foresee, and I never say never, but right now I don't see any tours. And I think we both have grown apart professionally and personally. I think we both want to do something else. I don't want to sound like doom and gloom, but there's a reality to being old, to being our age. I think Daryl and I feel the exact same way."

Hall & Oates last performed as a duo on October 22, 2022 in Laughlin, Nevada. Best Life has reached out to both musicians as well as Primary Wave regarding the lawsuit.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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