Daryl Hall gets restraining order against John Oates in Hall & Oates legal battle

Daryl Hall and John Oates have known each other since 1967 and performed together as Hall & Oates for over 50 years. While they’ve each had solo projects, they’ve never officially split up as a band. As Hall & Oates, they jointly released 18 studio albums and toured together as recently as last year. All in all they’ve been a low-key music duo just turning out the hits with no drama. But that was all a LIE!! No, I’m exaggerating. Due to the filings being sealed, we don’t know much about what’s going on between Daryl Hall and John Oates the men — other than the attention-grabbing headline we got over Thanksgiving weekend that Hall was suing Oates and even got a restraining order. Très mystérieux.

Hall & Oates are embroiled in a confidential legal battle that has led to Daryl Hall getting a restraining order against his former music partner John Oates.

Little information about the lawsuit is publicly available, as the court documents are sealed, but based on court records, Hall filed an undisclosed complaint against Oates on Nov. 16, as well as a motion for a temporary restraining order, as reported by Philadelphia magazine. The following day, the court officially issued a temporary restraining order to begin Nov. 30.

The Nashville Chancery Court confirmed the existence of the lawsuit to Variety, but declined further comment because the lawsuit is sealed.

On Nov. 23, Hall played a concert full of Hall & Oates classics in Tokyo.

As TMZ points out, Hall disparaged Oates on Bill Maher’s “Club Random” podcast last year, saying, “You think John Oates is my parenter? … He’s my business partner. He’s not my creative partner.”

He went on, “John and I are brothers, but we are not creative brothers. We are business partners. We made records called Hall & Oates together, but we’ve always been very separate, and that’s a really important thing for me.”

Hall then went on to diminish the collaborative aspect of Hall & Oates, using the duo’s 1980 No. 1 hit “Kiss on My List” as an example of their apparent creative separation. “I did all those [harmonies],” Hall said. “That’s all me.” Oates is not credited as a songwriter on “Kiss on My List,” but is listed as a co-producer with Hall.

[From Yahoo! Entertainment]

First of all, major props to the aforementioned Philadelphia magazine for their perfect headline Hall Is Suing Oates, and We Can’t Go For That. Secondly, I’m not saying Bill Maher caused Daryl Hall to trash talk John Oates on the podcast, but I’m also totally not surprised that that kind of negativity found a breeding ground in a Bill Maher environment. Finally, yipes! What is going on here? TMZ goes further in their reporting (and yes, they did an “I Can’t Go For That” headline too, but their publishing date was two days after Philadelphia magazine). TMZ claims that Hall is suing over breach of contract, likely due to a royalties dispute and/or Oates singing certain songs in solo acts. My question then is, why would any of those issues require a restraining order?

This just in! Variety is now reporting that a Tennessee judge unsealed some of the court documents which reveals that Hall is suing to stop Oates from selling his share in their joint venture to Primary Wave Music. Ah, another major catalog sale at play. Still wonder about the restraining order, though.

Photos credit: i-Images, PacificCoastNews / Avalon, Retna/Photoshot via Avalon, Rob Cable / Avalon, Mike Gray / Avalon

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29 Responses to “Daryl Hall gets restraining order against John Oates in Hall & Oates legal battle”

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  1. Lala11_7 says:

    In the last few years…Darryl Hall has been giving me …”Mean Old White Man” vibes that makes me NOT wanna even listen to the music 🎵🎶🎵 I have ALWAYS ❤️❤️❤️

    • seaflower says:


    • MissMarirose says:

      My understanding is he’s always been like that. My hubby read a case in law school (25 years ago) about Hall, how he was fighting child support for an out-of-wedlock child, saying that he should not have to pay a certain amount due to his income because he grew up poor and would want his kids to be raised that way, not rich and spoiled (or something like that).
      So, I wonder whether this case against Oates is more about Hall being a control freak more than it is Oates trying to mess over Hall.

      • Allison says:

        Yup. He got a young groupie pregnant and than fought to pay minimal child support. It would never fly today. He had almost no contact with his son and when he did invite his son out on tour, he had him selling merchandise and hardly spent any time with him. It’s pretty heartbreaking to hear the kid tell the story of constantly being rejected whenever he reached out to Hall.

    • Deering24 says:

      Oh, yeesh–really?!? 😔 Have loved his and Oates’ music forever, but didn’t know much about their off-stage lives. For cryin’ out loud, are just about all artists awful?

  2. Christine says:

    Maybe Hall has right of first refusal on any sale, meaning Hall has the option to buy whatever Oates is selling at the price Oates is getting from a third party. That is pretty common in partnerships. I wonder if Hall is trying to get financing for it and wants the restraining order to give him time.

    • Sydneygirl says:

      I love Hall & Oates, “Out of Touch” is a favourite and Daryl’s House has produced some great performances…BUT I’ve heard that Daryl is a real diva.

      In live concerts over the last few years he’s apparently refused to do sound checks then gone off on the guitarist because the balance is out – all in front of a paying audience.

      Not cool.

      • Lightpurpleii says:

        Saw them in concert about 10 years ago and Hall’s obnoxious diva behavior and obvious disrespect for everyone else on stage with him was off putting and ruined the show for me

      • I saw them play a few years back, and it was a strange experience, to say the least. At one point in the middle of the show, Hall stopped playing and proceeded to go off on a REALLY long and angry rant about the hotel that he was staying at. The rant itself was also so incoherent and rambling, that it was impossible to determine from it what the hotel had actually done to make him so angry. I remember the audience just kind of looking at each other in confusion wondering if Hall had lost his mind, while Oates and the rest of the band just stood there awkwardly on stage, waiting for him to finish.

  3. Macky says:

    I got actually angry. How dare hall sue oates especially when he has gigs lined up. If its about a catologue sale then it’s fine. If its about performing songs – I can’t go for that.

    I didn’t want to be corny but it fit perfectly.

  4. Whatever says:

    As I understand it from what I read this weekend, the duo jointly sold partial ownership of their catalog to an investment firm a while back, a decision Hall now deeply regrets. Oates would now like to sell his remaining ownership to the same firm, which would leave Hall as a minority holder of his own music. Hall is seeking to prevent the sale, and also alleging that Oates has made information available to the potential buyer that he was legally required to keep private. That is the purpose of the restraining order, to prevent Oates from selling before Hall has a chance to put this before a judge. It sounds like they already have a court date, which will happen before the restraining order expires.

  5. Twin Falls says:

    “This just in! Variety is now reporting that a Tennessee judge unsealed some of the court documents which reveals that Hall is suing to stop Oates from selling his share in their joint venture to Primary Wave Music. “

    The restraining order temporarily prevents the sale from happening.

  6. Bumblebee says:

    Hall is trying to protect the rights to his music. There are several comments here talking about how he’s been difficult ‘in the last several years’. I’m not going to support some corporate company getting control of a musician’s songs because he expects people to do their job.
    Plus, sounds like some shady business is going on, with Oates, his wife, and his adult kids in the mix.

  7. Jess says:

    A restraining order isn’t always about a physical threat. It just temporarily stops a party to a lawsuit from doing anything in the short term. So here I’m assuming it temporarily blocks the sale of the interest while the parties make their legal arguments to the court.

    • Bettyrose says:

      That makes sense, but it was such a bizarre headline to drop over a holiday weekend and stir up intrigue.

  8. Concern Fae says:

    I remember reading how one of the big problems that the Go-Go’s had was that in the early days when they were broke and gigging, some members were happy that others wrote the songs, but later on when they realized how much more money those women were making, there were issues. Thought this was Jane Wiedlin, but looking it up, Charlotte Coffey wrote some of the songs.

    As for Hall & Oates. would love to rewatch their Behind the Music. Also, I can see adult children really causing problems in this sort of deal.

  9. Chantal1 says:

    What the what is going on? I’m sad to hear this bc they had some fantastic songs and great music videos. In addition to tarnishing their legacy, these musical artists are ruining some of my memories/favorite songs! H&O was that group – the group that epitomized “Blue-eyed Soul”. I’ve heard Hall can be a diva, still I hope they can eventually resolve their differences amicably.

  10. It’sjustblanche says:

    OK this is completely unrelated but when I was in law school, we had to read this case about hall father and a child and then having to go to court for years to pay child support. He was a total jerk about it. And he doesn’t really have a relationship with that kid today even though the kid made the effort several times. He’s a jerk.

  11. Normades says:

    Hard to know who’s in the wrong here but both of them need to lay off from the plastic surgery.

    • HoofRat says:

      Yep! A bit of nip and tuck is certainly understandable, but they aren’t even recognizable. I miss their previous faces and John’s iconic pornstache. Sad all around, this.

  12. Bettyrose says:

    Their music was ubiquitous when I was growing up. It was top 40, adult contemporary, AM radio, and supermarket sounds. I don’t think I ever deliberately listened to them, but I’ve been surprised as an adult how much they mean to my age group. Even someone I think of as metal got excited to see them live. This is just as out of the blue as any split of a celebrity couple we thought were solid.

  13. Jananell says:

    Is it the media calling it a restraining order? Sounds like an injunction to me.

    Hall & Oats, is nothing sacred.

  14. JaneS says:

    Daryl Hall is known to be a Diva, for decades. And his private life is not too pleasant either.
    His voice and songwriting talent were the primary reason H&O were so successful, IMO.
    John Oates has a serious spending problem, in fact, he has been on the edge of bankruptcy several times IIRC.
    I read an interview years back, he “had” to sell his 4 homes, his private jet, etc.
    Just how much money does 1 guy “need”.
    OTOH, Daryl Hall…how much money does he need either?

    Anyhow, yes the selling of their music rights is a problem, no matter how much money is involved.

    IMO, the creators/songwriters should hold onto their catalogs.
    I always thought it so bizarre when Michael Jackson bought the rights to The Beatles catalog.
    As an artist himself, and he had worked with Macca, it thought that was money grubbing.
    After MJ passed Macca bought back the rights to his work.

    • North of Boston says:

      RE MJ buying up rights to Beatles music, there was a back story to that.

      Apparently when the two got to know each other MJ who was just then gaining (or had recently come into) success as a solo artist sought PM’s advice on how to approach the music industry long term. McCartney shared a tip about how music rights/ publishing rights were key and a good source of long term stability, income over time. There was some back story about Beatles compositions, publishing rights being one of the big issues back in 69-70 that created divisions within the Beatles leading to their breakup, and McCartney spending decades trying to reaquire rights to early Lennon-McCartney compositions that had been signed away early on before they got savvy, plus rights to later compositions that kind of got sold out the back door when various managers, agents, holding companies had control of portions of the Beatle’s catalog.

      A portion of the Beatles catalog of songs and other compositions PM had been part off finally came up for sale and McCartney tried to buy the rights back, but MJ outbid him. And Macca did not take it well, saw it as a betrayal.

      • Mango says:

        Yeah he saw it as a betrayal because it was one. Seriously that wasn’t a cool way to treat anyone let alone a friend. As for Daryl Hall he seems like a jerk but again I am on the side of the artist who wants to hold onto their work. I was on Taylor Swift’s side too.

  15. olliesmom says:

    This makes me sad. Hall & Oates is high school and college music for me.

  16. Allison says:

    Daryl can be a real drama queen. His treatment of his son was a real turn off for me.

  17. J.Ferber says:

    Never thought their music was that great.