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Weekend Earworms: Sow Your Wild Hall & Oates

An estimated 98% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times that we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things ever.

We here at Nerdist are dead-set on bringing you those types of songs, if only for the weekend. We’ll be scouring the internet for the best earworms we can shove into your meaty brains!

Next time you go into work, walk up to your boss and say “This week, I’ve been listening to a lot of Hall & Oates and I want to make strangers do that too!” Now, did your boss look at you weird? Did you get scolded? Written up? Did your boss say “Yeah, John, we all know that you used to be in a band but get back to work, those shirts aren’t going to fold themselves”?

Those are all very normal responses except for when you work for a site like this. Working for Nerdist Industries is unequivocally the best job I’ve ever had and the fact that I get to write for is the latest icing on a cake that was primarily frosting to begin with. Earlier this week, when I was a bit over-energetic about getting Hall & Oates songs stuck in people’s heads (you know, as one tends to do), I was actually given the go ahead to do so.

To say Hall & Oates made some earworms in their day is the understatement of the century. Love them or hate them, it’s safe to say at least one track is somewhere in everyone’s head. So instead of sharing the originals – which are still great – I figured I’d celebrate the fact their songs remain earwormy even when covered. While this isn’t a full offering of all the covers out there, nor is it the definitive list of the best, here are some that have stuck with me this week. I think that’s a fair deal for this week’s article, right? Can you go for that? I know I can.

I Can’t Go For That – Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers

There’s something to be said about the staying power of a song if it can be sung in a moving vehicle and still be amazing. Granted, Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers bring an immense amount of talent to covering 1981’s “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” that takes the ’80s hokey-ness out of it even with the use of a kazoo in place of a sax solo. Having beautiful female vocals behind this seems to fit the song better for some reason too.

Since we’re on the subject of beautiful female vocals…

Rich Girl – Lake Street Dive

You know that saying “I could listen to that person read the phone book” for when someone’s got a really nice voice? That is a saying, right? Well, Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive has got a voice like that. If I could afford to hire this band to follow me around and sing/narrate my life, I would do so in a heartbeat. A testament to good song writing despite the style in which it’s played is certainly true here but the powerful vocals they bring to their version of the 1976 “Rich Girl” are just astounding. The lyrics have always held a level of emotion but there was a certain lack of feeling on the original version. I know this article is about Hall & Oates but listen to LSD’s “You Go Down Smooth” and marvel at the vocals. She’s got some pipes!

There’s only a few voices in the world that can compete with one like that and luckily there’s…

She’s Gone – Lou Rawls

To say Lou Rawls is another “phone book voice” would be an incredible understatement. In fact, the phrase doesn’t do the man justice. There’s got to be a better way to compliment this legend. Alright, if there were recordings of Rawls singing Nickelback, P.O.D., and Puddle Of Mudd songs – which would be a very sad day for music – they’d probably still go platinum in record time. Lou’s version of the 1973 “She’s Gone” doesn’t deviate much from the original (except a major upgrade on smoooooooth vocals) but it’s a version that’s certainly a surprise to find out it’s a cover. If you’re ever having a bad day, listen to Rawl’s version of “The Girl From Ipanema” and then thank me on Twitter for improving your day.

Oh crap. I ran out of crappy segues to transition to the next song…

Kiss on my List – The Bird and the Bee

The Bird and the Bee took loving Hall & Oates to a whole new level with their 2010 album “Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates” in which they covered eight Hall & Oates songs. You should listen to the whole thing because it’s the perfect mix of ’80s songs and indie rock. It’s a horrible cliche and you can criticize me all you’d like for saying something like “They just don’t make them like they used to,” but I highly doubt we’ll be talking about the best EDM or Dubstep covers in 30 years.

Thanks for letting me geek out about Hall & Oates and the staying power of their music. I don’t think there’s a bad version of any of their songs out there in the world but I welcome any challenges. I’m confident in that call to action because I am well aware of T.J. Miller’s performance of “Kiss On My List” from She’s Out of My League and I goddamn LOVE it!

What are your favorite Hall & Oates songs? Favorite covers? Let us know me know in the comments or on Twitter!

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