"This list puts the cherry on top," Oates said. "You know what I really like about what's going on with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, especially, is that they've opened up the voting to the public."
More than 1.2 million people have voted online. As of Friday, Hall and Oates trails Kiss, Nirvana, Deep Purple and Yes in the Hall's online fan poll of the 16 nominees. If the duo sustains this position, they will advance with four other groups next month to the Hall's final tally.
The Rock Hall nomination coincides with another recent nod to Hall & Oates' legacy: a remix project celebrating their hits that went viral earlier this month via SoundCloud.
"They really do appeal to everyone," said Scott Melker, the Miami-based mashup and remix artist behind "Ballin' Oates." On a synthesizer, Melker replayed elements of Hall & Oates classics and mixed them with rap vocals; one song merges "Maneater" with Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." Such eclectic projects have exposed different audiences to different musicians and genres, and for decades hip-hop artists including De La Soul and Lil Wayne have sampled the band's hooks.
"The breadth of their catalog is just mind-blowing," Melker told Billboard. "Hall & Oates has sort of always resonated with almost every audience."
"'Cause we're fucking good!" Oates said with a laugh when asked about the broadening appeal. "I think it's an honor and I think it's a tribute to us. Over the years some of our biggest support has been from the black community and the R&B world. We feel like it's part of what we are."
In the meantime, Oates has resumed writing and playing guitar while recovering from an operation on his left shoulder. It was his second surgery in less than four years; the first, in 2010, repaired a tear to his right rotator cuff, after a horse threw him into a fence in 1995. He chalks the latest procedure up to the "wear and tear" associated with heavy lifting on his home farm and his passion for "skiing aggressively."
In February, Oates will release his fourth solo album, "Good Road To Follow," which will collect the collaborative singles he has issued online individually each month since May. Guests have included Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Vince Gill.