Essential Atlantic: Daryl Hall & John Oates, ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE

Thursday, August 20, 2020

For the next several weeks (or maybe just until we decide that we want to stop doing it, since normalcy seems likely to remain on hiatus for the foreseeable future), will be spotlighting an album from the Atlantic Records discography that qualifies as “Essential.” And what rigorous standards and/or mathematical algorithm did we use to come up with the criteria to define “Essential,” you ask? None at all. You’ll just have to trust our instincts. But they’re really good, we swear...

While ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE may not have been the first album by Daryl Hall and John Oates – an honor which, in case you don’t know the duo’s back from top to bottom, goes to WHOLE OATES – it was their first album to make a major commercial impact. Indeed, not only did their debut album fail to chart, but the album’s two singles, “Goodnight and Good Morning” and “I’m Sorry,” met with the same fate. Less than thrilled with this reception, Hall and Oates shifted their base of operations from Philadelphia to New York, and they also made more of a connection with their producer, Arif Mardin, which made a major difference during the recording of ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE.

"Recording that album was where we learned how songs become records,” Oates told The Huffington Post. “Our producer, the legendary Arif Mardin carefully crafted each song, every bit of nuance, bringing in the perfect players for the right moments. And it all worked together as one beautiful musical tapestry."

That said, it still took the album awhile to catch the ear of, so long that they weren’t even on Atlantic Records anymore. When the album’s single, “She’s Gone,” was initially released, it made it only as high as #60 before beginning its descent. Over time, however, the song took on a life of its own, with Tavares recording a version that went all the way to the top of the Billboard R&B Singles chart. Seeing an opportunity to capitalize on the song’s popularity, Atlantic opted to reissue Hall & Oates’ version, and – son of a gun! – this time it became a top-10 hit. In turn, ABANDONDED LUNCHEONETTE also got a major boost, hitting a chart high of #33 on the Billboard 200.

When it comes to blue-eyed soul in the ‘70s, it doesn’t get any better than Hall & Oates’ ABANDONDED LUNCHEONETTE...and we’re willing to hear your arguments as to what album might be better, but we’re not budging on our estimation that, at the very least, it’s absolutely one of the best.


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