Get­ting Hall & Oates on the record about iconic al­bum

North Penn Life - - Accent - Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www

Peo­ple of­ten ask me where story ideas and col­umn topics come from and the sim­ple an­swer is that some­times they just hap­pen when you least ex­pect it.

Such was the case re­cently in­volv­ing an old vinyl record. In this week’s Ticket en­ter­tain­ment mag­a­zine, which is in­serted into your pa­per, you can read about the 40th an­niver­sary of the re­lease of what’s be­come an iconic al­bum, back when vinyl records was how we lis­tened to our mu­sic.

In 1973, Daryl Hall and John Oates re­leased their sec­ond stu­dio al­bum, “Aban­doned Luncheonette.” Although it had only mod­er­ate success early on, Hall & Oates would even­tu­ally go on to su­per­star­dom and “Aban­doned Luncheonette” is gen­er­ally now con­sid­ered one of their ear­li­est mas­ter­pieces.

The his­tor­i­cal rock and roll sig­nif­i­cance of the al­bum is en­hanced for those of us who live in this area be­cause of the photo on the front of the al­bum, which features an old, di­lap­i­dated diner that used to be known as the Rosedale Diner that sat at the cor­ner of High and Rosedale streets in Pottstown.

That Hall and Oates are lo­cal guys — Oates was raised in North Wales and grad­u­ated from North Penn High School and Hall lived just out­side of Pottstown and grad­u­ated from Owen J. Roberts High School — is a well­known fact to many in this area.

And that is the back­drop to this story.

As a kid grow­ing up in cen­tral Illi­nois, my folks had a record col­lec­tion that con­sisted of a lot of pop­u­lar mu­sic from the late 1950s and early to mid-1960s. I used to wear out al­bums by Elvis, The Beach Boys, The Bea­tles, The As­so­ci­a­tion and many more.

By the time the 1970s rolled around and I got to high school, I was more into eight-track tapes, cas­settes, big bushy side­burns and bell-bot­tomed pants. (Sev­en­ties suave in­deed.) I never had my own record col­lec­tion.

It’s more than 35 years later now and I re­cently de­cided to change that. For Christ­mas last year, The Blonde Ac­coun­tant got me a turntable be­cause I wanted to start a record col­lec­tion. My orig­i­nal premise was that I wanted to hear the early work of some of my fa­vorite artists and my think­ing was that lis­ten­ing to it on vinyl would of­fer me the purest form of the mu­sic.

It has be­come a process for me. I spend some time re­search­ing a band and its mu­sic, choose an al­bum I think I’d like to have in my col­lec­tion, and then go to the record store in search of the al­bum.

For­tu­nately, there are still a few record stores around, and there’s a cer­tain nos­tal­gic charm to go­ing into one and search­ing through the al­bums.

A few weeks ago I was on the trail of “Aban­doned Luncheonette.” I sus­pect that since I didn’t grow up here on the East Coast, I was un­aware of the early Hall & Oates stuff be­cause it didn’t have wide pen­e­tra­tion back then in the Mid­west. So I had never really heard the en­tire al­bum as a sin­gle body of work.

Any­one who’s a trea­sure hunter of sorts — be it at an an­tique store, garage sale or base­ball card show — knows the feel­ing of ac­tu­ally find­ing that one thing you've been search­ing for, and that’s what hap­pened to me with “Aban­doned Luncheonette.”

It was sit­ting in plain sight in one of the bins, and I spot­ted it lit­er­ally as I walked in the door of the Vinyl Closet, a de­light­ful lit­tle record shop on Main Street in North Wales owned by Ja­son McFar­land (www.thevinyl­closet.com).

I got the al­bum for $1 and it’s in fab­u­lous shape. Nat­u­rally, I rushed home to play it on my new turn- ta­ble and it’s ab­so­lutely won­der­ful. I was lis­ten­ing to the early stages of what we now know as “Philly soul” or the “sound of Philadel­phia” and it was and is a really cool vibe.

As I was ex­am­in­ing the cover art, I flipped the record over and was read­ing the in­for­ma­tion on the back. There, at the bot­tom in small print were the words, “1973 At­lantic Record­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.”

Hey, I thought to my­self, this year is the 40th an­niver­sary of the re­lease of that al­bum. I won­der if Daryl and John would want talk about it?

And that’s how a story idea is born. All I needed to do was ex­e­cute.

For­tu­nately, I have in­ter­viewed both Hall and Oates sev­eral times over the years. I have a good re­la­tion­ship with their man­ager, Jonathan Wolf­son, and he has with­out fail al­ways hon­ored my in­ter­view re­quests and hooked me up with both artists. Hall & Oates them­selves have also both been gra­cious with their time and their will­ing­ness to an­swer my ques­tions numer­ous times.

I emailed Wolf­son and he re­sponded the same day say­ing he thought that a story on the an­niver­sary of “Aban­doned Luncheonette” was “a great idea” and that he would make Daryl and John avail­able for in­ter­views.

Within a week I had both artists on the phone in sep­a­rate in­ter­views. John ap­par­ently is get­ting used to talk­ing to me, I guess, be­cause he started the lat­est con­ver­sa­tion with, “Hi Mike, here we go again, huh?” He added that he was un­aware that it was the 40th an­niver­sary of the al­bum un­til the in­ter­view re­quest had been made.

Both Daryl and John shared their rec­ol­lec­tions about mak­ing “Aban­doned Luncheonette” and the story of how they got the now-fa­mous pho­to­graphs that grace the front and back cov­ers of the al­bum from a for­got­ten diner that once rested on the out­skirts of Pottstown just off Route 724. vou can read all about that in this week’s Ticket sec­tion.

It all started be­cause I found an al­bum at a lo­cal record store for a dol­lar, took it home and lis­tened to it and dis­cov­ered the early sounds of Philly soul. Ev­ery­thing old was new again.

Man, I love it when a plan comes full cir­cle.

Outta Left­field Mike Morsch

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