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Daryl Hall, John Oates Lawsuit Involves Proposed Asset Sale

The proposed transaction 'is the product of an indisputable breach of contract,” the suit says.
Daryl Hall and John Oates in 2013 (photo: Erika Goldring / Getty Images).

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that Daryl Hall filed a restraining order against his longtime musical partner, John Oates. On Friday, it was revealed that Hall filed the order in order to prevent Oates from selling his share of their Whole Oats Enterprises LLP to artist rights management company Primary Wave.

According to the Associated Press, Nashville Chancery Court Judge Russell Perkins has temporarily blocked the sale to allow other legal matters and an ongoing arbitration process to play out. The remaining court documents remained sealed, which Hall’s attorneys said was necessary because they include Hall and Oates’ confidential business and contractual information.

Primary Wave previously purchased a “significant interest” in the Hall and Oates song catalog in 2006. It is unknown if Oates’ intended transaction with the company involves his remaining share of that music or other rights. Hall is suing under the belief that Whole Oats’ business agreement was provided to Primary Wave in violation of a confidentiality clause in the lead-up to a potential sale. 

“Thus, the entire Unauthorized Transaction is the product of an indisputable breach of contract,” the lawsuit says. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Hall, 77, and Oates, 75, last performed together in October 2022, and Hall has spent the past two years touring solo and promoting his Oates-less back catalog. Asked in a Jan. 2022 interview if the duo might record new music, he said, “No, I have no plans on that at all. I’ve changed direction. A lot of factors have come up, the pandemic being one of them. I think it’s time for me to get my due when it comes to the solo songs and solo albums. I’m going to give it a shot and see what happens.”

He made similar remarks in a 1988 interview with SPIN, when Hall and Oates were promoting Ooh Yeah!, their first album after a three-year hiatus. “There is a constant pattern of dualities, opposites, yins and yangs in my life and career,” Hall said. “There’s not completeness without the tension of differences. And John is a fully 50 percent of the saga. We have a complex way of interacting musically, but our ways of looking at everything are in real contrast. You can see it in so many things, like how we spent the time apart. Like, I needed to try my wings solo, put myself out there in a kind of blind jeopardy. He didn’t. Is it our differences that keep us together? Or is it the similarities that we can’t see, ourselves?”