Tuesday, July 2, 2019

"Dreamtime" by Daryl Hall

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2817
Date:  08/02/1986
Debut:  54
Peak:  5
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Psychedelic Pop

Pop Bits:  After a run of twelve Top 10 singles and four platinum albums, the duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates decided to take a little break. During their time apart, Hall chose to work on material of his own that was different from the hit-making blue-eyed soul he'd been churning out with Oates since the decade began. Being a superstar gave him the clout to do this and Hall signed up to do a solo album with producers Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Tom "T-Bone" Wolk. The results would be titled Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine. Although Hall probably had leeway to do most anything he wanted for the LP, it still needed to have some commercial-leaning tracks to bring in an audience. This first single seemed to fit that bill. It had a radio-friendly sound while also showing off a different side of Hall's music. The dense, psych-pop tune with its strings and effects was unlike anything Hall & Oates had done over the years and the tune received a positive response. It easily made the Pop Top 10 while getting to #24 at AC and #36 Dance. It was a good start, but the trick for Hall would be to keep up the momentum of the hit and truly establish himself as a viable solo artist.

ReduxReview:  Anyone looking for H&O's trademark pop/blue-eyes soul was not going to find it in this bombastic track. Hall, Stewart, and Wolk go balls to the wall trying to make an epic out of this tune. By the end of it there are layered vocals, effects, strings, and even a harpsichord all swirling about in a dizzying Beatles-like manner. The heavy production was something different for Hall and it mostly works. The hook was good enough to lure in listeners and it seemed the eclectic ending worked fine on the radio. For me, I thought the massive production was a bit too much for the song. To make an epic you have to write an epic and I don't think this tune fits in that category. It was a bit weak and it just seemed the song was desperately trying to get some air above all the blustering production waves. Still, it's an interesting relic of the day and it showed that Hall had more to offer beyond his usual rock 'n' soul.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Since Daryl Hall and John Oates were so successful as a duo in the 80s, many folks assumed that Hall's Three Hearts album was his first solo effort. However, it was actually his second solo release. In the mid-70s, the duo had some success with three Top 10 hits. Later in 1977, they were struggling to continue their success. Feeling the need to do something artistically different, Hall then decided to record a solo album. On board for production was former King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. Hall and Fripp and met a few years early and wanted to work together. Hall's solo disc gave them the opportunity. While the resulting album, Sacred Songs, had a few pop-oriented tracks, the balance of it had a more experimental art-pop feel, which was certainly different from the material Hall had been doing with Oates. Unfortunately, Hall's label, RCA, didn't like what they heard. They considered it "non-commercial" and refused to release it thinking that it would not be a success and that it would have a negative affect on the H&O fan base. Hall and Fripp retaliated by sending out copies of the disc to journalists and DJs. After pressure from industry folks and even letter writing campaigns from fans, RCA finally relented and released the album in 1980. The album's lone single, "Something in 4/4 Time," failed to chart, but the album did sell a few copies and it got to #58.


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