'Private Eyes' Kept Hall & Oates' Hot Streak Public

Daryl Hall & John Oates in 1981
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Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Daryl Hall & John Oates' first album of the '80s, Voices, lit the fuse that led the band to explode as not only the decade's biggest rock duo, but perhaps the biggest ever. It was a pressure that they felt before the paint even dried on their follow-up, 1981's Private Eyes - when, as the band were working on overdubs, manager Tommy Mottola announced that Voices' big hit "Kiss on My List" had topped the charts in all three music magazines: Billboard, Cashbox and Record World.

READ MORE: July 1980: Hall and Oates Release "Voices"

"That added lots of pressure," co-producer Neil Kernon later said. "We knew we needed to build upon the success of Voices." He needn't have worried, though: the tight grooves that featured on the Philly twosome's 10th album were enough to keep the hot streak alive. Hall & Oates' signature rock 'n' soul style, mixed with a New Wave style that emphasized heart-pounding beats and compressed keyboard jingles, helped Private Eyes leap over the competition - even the ones they were waging with themselves.

READ MORE: August 1981: Hall and Oates Release Single "Private Eyes"

For more than a half-century, Daryl and John have been a study in contrasts - tall and short, blonde and brunette, frenetic and laid back - but the push and pull of their dynamic relationship led to some of the next year's most tightly-wound pop. You've got the hits: the pulsating title track - cue those claps! - and the slinky "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," both of which wound up topping the Billboard Hot 100. Then there's the old school R&B of Top 10 hit "Did It in a Minute" and fan favorite "Looking for a Good Sign." Oates takes affable lead on tracks "Mano a Mano" and "Friday Let Me Down," leaving Daryl to bring out that golden voice on underrated standouts like "Head Above Water" and "Your Imagination," the album's fourth Top 40 hit.

READ MORE: December 1981: Hall and Oates Release "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)"

Audiences couldn't keep their eyes or ears away from Private Eyes: it was their first Top 10 album, selling more than a million copies. Follow-up H2O would sell even better, spinning off three Top 10s (including a No. 1, "Maneater"). Slip them into any disguise, and Daryl Hall & John Oates could not be stopped for the rest of the decade.

READ MORE: October 1984: Hall & Oates Make 'Big Bam Boom'

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