Back when I was 11, I bought my brother two records for his birthday. One was Men at Work’s “Business as Usual” and the other was Hall and Oates’ “H2O.”
I listened to the Men at Work album a solid 20 times.
I am still playing Hall and Oates.
I’m not sure why and I’m not sure how, but that record became my record, and that group became my group. I took ownership of them, in the way one takes ownership of a ballplayer or a team or a junior high crush. From that moment forward, Hall and Oates were my group. I would repeatedly defend them, vouch for them, make strong cases for their greatness; their timelessness; their placement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I uttered the phrase “Greatest rock and roll duo” a solid 5,645 times. My high school yearbook’s back page is filled with references to Hall and Oates. Mostly mocking.
Anyhow, I’m writing this because, a few days ago, Daryl Hall turned 70. Which is cool because, well, he’s still here and still—for a 70-year-old rocker—shockingly relevant. His TV/web series, “Live from Daryl’s House,” kicks ass. He still tours with Oates; recently opened his own music club in New York. His voice isn’t quite what it once was, but it remains unique and strong. He still wears sunglasses indoors (which I’ve never appreciated) and still has that cocky “I’m the lead singer” strut (also not my favorite quality in a person).
Mostly, I’m impressed with … myself. I mean, I could have become the world’s biggest Men at Work fan. Or Thompson Twins fan. Or Wham fan. Or Cindy Lauper fan. Or Pointer Sisters fan. Or Howard Jones fan.
But I picked Hall and Oates, and they’ve stuck with me.