John William Oates (born April 7, 1949) is an American rock, R&B and soul guitarist, musician, songwriter and 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 & 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). Oates also co-wrote and sang backup on the song "Electric Blue", recorded by the band Icehouse, which was a Billboard Top Ten 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 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 the duo Hall & Oates.
Oates was born in New York City. His mother, Ann De Palma, was an Italian immigrant originally from Salerno. His father, Al Oates, was born to an English father and Gibraltarian mother, who claimed ancient Moorish heritage. He was raised in North Wales, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.
In 1966, he recorded his first single, "I Need Your Love," with The Masters for Philadelphia-based Crimson Records. After graduating from North Penn High School in 1967, John enrolled in Temple University in Philadelphia, where he met Daryl Hall, a senior at Temple who was also a professional musician. The two were involved in several college bands, then formed the duo Hall & Oates, and by 1972, they had signed with Atlantic Records. Hall & Oates went on to record 21 albums (to date), which have sold over 80 million units worldwide, making them arguably the most successful duo in pop–rock history. They have scored ten number-one records and over 20 top-40 hits and have toured the world for decades. Their involvement in the original Live Aid concert and the ground-breaking "We Are the World" charity recording established them further as artists. Their influence on modern American pop music and considerable contributions have been acknowledged by numerous contemporary bands, including Gym Class Heroes and The Killers.
In 1983, Oates was asked whether he regretted not pursuing his degree in journalism. He replied that he did not—and admitted that he had in fact never intended to finish it.
Despite 30 years as a chart-topping performer and sought-after producer, Oates did not release a solo album until 2002's Phunk Shui.
Oates took part, along with Jamie Cullum, in the song "Greatest Mistake" by Handsome Boy Modeling School. The song appears on the 2004 album White People.
Oates's second solo album, 1000 Miles of Life, was released on August 23, 2008.
As reported by Billboard, Oates will be starring in an animated series called J.Stache, created by Evan Duby at Primary Wave Music Publishing.
In March 2010, Oates played with the indie rock band The Bird and the Bee as a surprise guest. The show was a medley of The Bird and the Bee songs, as well as classic Hall & Oates. The performance was dedicated to H&O bassist T-Bone Wolk who died on February 27, 2010.
On October 1, 2011, Margo Rey charted at #24 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks with the song "Let the Rain", which was co-written by John Oates.
On March 11, 2013, Oates released a new single, "Stand Strong", which he co-wrote with Teddy Morgan. "Stand Strong" is part of Oates's newest project, "Good Road To Follow", a set of original songs that will be released as digital singles, one after the other.
He is married to his second wife, Aimee Oates. Their son, Tanner, was born in 1996. Oates lives with his wife and son in Aspen, Colorado.
Hall & Oates songs featuring John Oates on lead vocal
- Phunk Shui (CD that was released multiple times, each adding bonus tracks)
- John Oates: Live at the Historic Wheeler Opera House (DVD and bonus live CD) (2004)
- John Oates Solo – The Album, The Concert (DualDisc: CD side of Phunk Shui (14 track version), DVD side Live at the Historic Wheeler Opera House) (bonus live CD that came with the original above the DVD is not included) (2006)
- 1000 Miles Of Life (2008)
- Mississippi Mile (2011)
- The Bluesville Sessions (2012)
- Good Road To Follow (2013)