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Who Are Hall & Oates? Are Popular 80s Acts Already Becoming Obscure?

Hall & Oates In Concert
Erika Goldring

I recently turned 47. No, its not that old, but occasionally I feel old. Especially when situations like this happen:

We received word that there was one minute of availability left on one of our stations. I found the song ‘Did It In A Minute’ by Hall & Oates and sent it around to the staff. One of our staff members, who is in her early 30s, replied back to me asking:

“Who are Hall & Oates?”

Hall & Oates reached the Pop Charts for the first time in 1974, but the bulk of their hits came out between 1980 and 1985 – right around the time I was in high school. I do realize that she was an infant at that time, but songs from 1966 – 1970, a time where I was very young, I am familiar with.

People will say: But Michael, it’s obvious that you know songs from that era because you work in radio. While there might be some truth to that, I was already familiar with the songs and artists from that time before I got into radio (thank you WLS!).

I wrote about how some older music still sounds fresh to me today, and whether it would sound relevant to today’s typical 13-year-old. I think it is because of how accessible music is today. People of my age, growing up we had a couple of radio stations to get our music from. Some of the more affluent kids had a large collection of 45s (that’s the little records with the big holes in them). But for the most part, if you didn’t hear it on the radio, you never heard it.

So lets fast forward to when this co-worker was in high school, say around the 1997-1998-1999 timeframe. I was working nights at a top-40 radio station in DeKalb, IL (92.5 WDEK). Some of the hot songs from that time included:

  • Hanson – MMMMM Bop
  • Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There
  • Savage Garden – Truly, Madly , Deeply
  • Barenaked Ladies – One Week
  • Cher – Believe
  • Brittney Spears – …Baby One More Time

If I remember correctly, not many of the listeners of this kind of music were listening to Hall & Oates. If I asked her in 1999 if she was familiar with Hall & Oates, I could see her saying “no.” I would think that as you get older, you would become exposed to a bigger variety of music, and that you would become more familiar with more artists. But the more I think about this, I realize that it has to be a choice to let yourself get exposed to the music.

I am lucky I chose to expose myself to the music.

To answer the question: Have popular 80s acts already become obscure? I guess it depends on who you ask. If you remember…

  • IceHouse
  • The Eurythmics
  • Wang Chung
  • Culture Club
  • Thompson Twins
  • Shalamar

…hang around with me…you’ll fit right in!

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