Philadelphia-born Daryl Hall is best known for being part of the '70s and '80s duo Hall & Oates, responsible for such hits as "Maneater," "Rich Girl," and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." Hall attended Philadelphia's Temple University, where he met future partner John Oates. They played together for a short time in the late '60s, until Oates decided to transfer schools. Hall did not let this discourage his musical career, though, and he began playing with the rock group Gulliver. The band produced one album on the Elektra label before disbanding. Hall then became a backup musician. Upon Oates' return to Philadelphia in 1972, the two got back together and formed the duo that would achieve fame later in the decade.
Hall & Oates initially performed folk-rock tunes, most of which placed on the musical charts. Tommy Mottola became their manager and got them a contract on the Atlantic record label. (Mottola was also responsible for signing Mariah Carey to Atlantic in the '80s.) The group's first album, Whole Oates, was released in 1972. The duo changed styles on the 1974 War Babies album to a harder rock sound, but ultimately disregarded that sound and returned to pop/rock.
Hall & Oates left Philadelphia for New York in 1976. They signed with RCA and produced their first Top Ten hit, "Sara Smile," in 1976. They achieved their first hit single, "Rich Girl," with the 1976 album Bigger Than the Both of Us. It was this recording that led Hall & Oates to achieve the success and fame they would continue to enjoy. Before recording further albums and hits, however, the two decided to refine their sound in the late '70s. Their songs began to sound more like rock, with more guitar solos.
It wasn't until 1980 that Hall & Oates produced another successful album — Voices rendered such hits as "You Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Kiss on My List," and "You Make My Dreams." That same year saw the release of Sacred Songs, a Daryl Hall solo album pairing the singer with unlikely collaborator Robert Fripp, who produced and played guitar (as well as Frippertronics) on the album; Hall also appeared on Fripp's solo album Exposure, released in 1979.
The '80s saw Hall & Oates issuing many albums, including Private Eyes and H2O, the latter of which became a double-platinum success for the duo. Because of all their hits, by 1984 Hall & Oates became the most chart-topping duo in history, topping the '60s popular folk-pop duo the Everly Brothers. Their 1984 album, Big Bam Boom, sold more than two million copies and produced four hit singles. Hall & Oates received the American Music Award for favorite pop group, also in 1984. Despite the outrageous success of the band, Hall & Oates disbanded. Both Daryl Hall and John Oates pursued solo careers — with Hall issuing solo albums 3 Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine (1986), Soul Alone (1993), and Can't Stop Dreaming (a 1999 Japan-only release ultimately issued in altered form in the U.S. during 2003).
Hall & Oates did reunite in 1988 for the album Ooh Yeah!, but subsequently maintained a low profile, with intermittent touring and recording including 1997's Marigold Sky, an album that proved to be as successful as their first album. The 2000s saw renewed activity from the pair, with the release of Hall & Oates albums Do It for Love (2003), Our Kind of Soul (2004), Home for Christmas (2006), and Live at the Troubadour (2008).