It's 1967 in Philadelphia, and a battle of the bands rages at a local venue called the Adelphi Ballroom. During the show, a gunfight breaks out between rival gangs. Two young musicians run to an elevator for cover. They would go on to form the most successful pop duo of all time, with 20 albums, 60 million records sold, 29 Top 40 hits and six No. 1 singles.
Hall and Oates just released a box set titled Do What You Want, Be What You Are.
Hall and Oates just released a box set titled Do What You Want, Be What You Are. Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
Daryl Hall and John Oates recently took their immense hit-making career and distilled it into a new box set called Do What You Want, Be What You Are. Now, for a band associated largely with '80s pop and hits like "Maneater," it's helpful to remember that they started their careers as soul musicians.
"We were all part of the Philadelphia soul scene," Hall says. "That was really the Philadelphia sound. We were part of that sort of nascent sound thing that everyone was doing. It was a small but mighty scene."
"We were listening to a lot of different things," Oates says. "Over the years, I think that's behind what we've done. We're very eclectic music appreciators and musicians, in general. I mean, I started out playing a lot of folk music and traditional American music at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and things like that."
Hall says that their career can be divided into three parts.
"It's sort of three circles," he says. "It's the Philadelphia years, which blends into the early years, and there was a circle completed there at the end of our Atlantic era. And then a new circle that began in the mid-'70s and lasted through the mid- to late '80s. And then the third circle that I sort of think is completed right now, and yet a new circle is beginning."