After 15 years, Daryl Hall and John Oates are excited to have a new song out as a duo.
The track is “Philly Forget Me Not,” a collaboration with Train’s Pat Monahan that was produced by Hall and Hall & Oates band members Shane Theriot and Greg Bleck and recorded in Charleston, S.C., and Pawling, N.Y. Released March 30, it’s currently available on all digital platforms and will be one of the songs Hall & Oates and Train play during a combined set that will finish the shows on their upcoming spring tour.
“It affirms something,” Hall tells Billboard, speaking about the song for the first time since its release. “It confirms my feeling that the Daryl Hall & John Oates brand is as strong as it is. Pat’s on here, but everybody is saying this is a Hall & Oates record, and that’s the power of the brand and that makes me very proud because I’ve worked on that for many years. This is something I really care about.” Oates adds that “Daryl and Pat kind of ran on that one. I jumped onto it and put my two cents in, and it’s a cool song. It’s great to have something new to play, and it’s going to sound great onstage with us and Pat doing it together.”
“Philly Forget Me Not,” which pays homage to the trio’s shared Pennsylvania roots, came about during pre-tour discussions between Hall and Monahan. “I was listening to some tracks, possibly to work on with Daryl, and then I just kind of made up my own thing with a couple of friends and Daryl helped me finish it,” says Monahan, who’s worked with both Hall and Oates before. “I think it sounds like a Hall & Oates song, personally. Writing with a guy like [Hall], who has all that talent and has lasted and has written hits and hits, I just knew that was going to be fun.” Hall, meanwhile, was happy to “do what I do” once Monahan presented the song.
“He gave it to me as an idea and I said, ‘OK, this is great. Lemme work with the lyrics and mess around with the melody and make this into a record,’ and that’s what I did,” Hall recalls. “I was very happy with the way it came out.”
But Hall cautions that he and Oates aren’t about to resume active recording together anytime soon. “A doesn’t lead to B here,” he explains. “John and I don’t have the kind of relationship now where we would do anything in an album format. That’s a completely different concept. People ask me all the time, but I don’t see it. But that doesn’t preclude the idea of doing one-off things like we just did. I think that’s fine, and it’s interesting to talk about that.”
All three of “Philly Forget Me Not’s” principles have plenty of other things to talk about, of course. Hall is continuing to work on his next solo album and is planning to shoot new episodes of Live From Daryl’s House during the fall. Oates will be playing shows with his Good Road Band, promoting his rootsy solo album Arkansas. Monahan, meanwhile, hopes to have a new Train single ready for the tour, which begins May 1 in Sacramento, and is planning a Train greatest-hits album for the near future. “I’ve always been anti-greatest hits because it seems like that’s when you enter the heritage-band age, and I’ve always feared that,” Monahan says. “But in the age of streaming I think it makes things simpler for a listener to be able to go to a greatest hits of anybody; it makes it so they don’t have to search so hard for that thing they’re looking for. We’ll add a couple songs, as people do, and hopefully people will hear this new [single] quite a lot, too.”