“We live in America. That’s our entire culture. Our culture is a blend. It isn’t split up into groups. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool – worse than a fool – a dangerous fool.” ~ Daryl Hall
I remember it well. I was 12 years old and it was my first concert. The sold out crowd at the Brendan Byrne Arena was electric as the perfectly crafted music soared from the stage. The unique brand of engaging sounds was defined by melody and rhythm; but even more importantly, it had soul. In fact, this particular brand of music would be conveniently deemed, “blue eyed soul.”
While many of the white artists of their day gravitated towards straight up arena rock, or even country music, Daryl Hall and John Oates ultimately found their greatest inspiration via soul and R&B. In fact, they are one of the few white artists to have a song reach #1 on the R&B chart.
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After experimenting with a few different musical styles and genres early in their career, the best selling duo in music history would come to find their comfortable niche writing smooth, soulful pop tunes. Their signature ‘rock and soul’ sound was on full display during the peak of their success in the late 70’s and early 80’s, as the talented duo racked up 34 chart hits in addition to their 7 platinum and 6 gold albums. All these achievements would eventually lead to their well deserved, and long overdue, induction into the rock and roll hall of fame just a few years ago.
Daryl Hall has always been a highly capable and confident musical force, but one of his most shining moments may have been revealed just a few days ago. Mr. Hall was recently interviewed by the ultra progressive -bordering on irrational fringe- Salon Magazine.
During the interview Hall was predictably hit with an absurd line of questioning that would go like this…
S: One of the current debates is over “cultural appropriation” –– that white people should not appropriate the culture of ethnic and racial minorities. — Have you followed this conversation?
DH: Are you trying to say that I don’t own the style of music that I grew up with and sing? I grew up with this music. It is not about being black or white. That is the most naïve attitude I’ve ever heard in my life. That is so far in the past, I hope, for everyone’s sake. It isn’t even an issue to discuss. The music that you listened to when you grew up is your music. It has nothing to do with “cultural appropriation”
S: I agree with you entirely, because…
DH: I’m glad that you do, because anyone who says that should shut the _ _ _ _ up.
S: Well, this entire critique is coming back…
DH: I’m sorry to hear it. Who is making these critiques? Who do they write for? What are their credentials to give an opinion like that? Who are they?
S: Much of it is academic.
DH: Well, then they should go back to school. Academia? Now, there’s a hotbed of idiocy. — We live in America. That’s our entire culture. Our culture is a blend. It isn’t split up into groups. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool – worse than a fool – a dangerous fool.
S: I also know that you don’t like the term “blue eyed soul”…
DH: No, and it is for this very reason. There is no color to soul. Soul music comes from the heart. It was generated out of the church, and it became secular gospel.
S: Ray Charles made that same point. He said the only difference between gospel and soul is that in one genre he sings to God, and in another, he sings to a woman.
DH: That’s right. That’s exactly it.
In fact, most Americans, at least those over 30, absolutely get it! Academia is not just a hotbed for idiocy, it’s a hotbed for lunacy. And like Daryl, we can’t go for that. Let’s pray that the rational majority will ultimately rule the day.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.