Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daryl Hall sings Fripp without Fripp

You might think a pairing of Daryl Hall he, the blue-eyed Philly soul savant and would-be pop megastar — and Robert Fripp — the King Crimson mastermind whose delicate thunder may've given Prog Rock its paternity (i.e. before it went Yes-sy all over FM radio) — is a totally absurd idea. Like most marriages, such a bond could only lead to a tense and unhappy nowhere. And, as it turned out, you'd be absolutely right. Their storied relationship was probably doomed from the start for several reasons, not the least of which Hall's record company and Hall himself. But, for a moment, it yielded some angular magic.

But first: Here's Daryl Hall taking a recent crack at North Star on his monthly web show Live from Daryl's House. The song was originally released on Robert Fripp's 1978 solo album Exposure (composed by Hall and Fripp with lyrics by Fripp's then girlfriend Joanna Walton – she'd later perish in the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie crash) and may've represented, for Fripp anyway, the beginnings of a long and fertile collaboration. While producing Hall's first solo album in 1977 (Sacred Songs), Fripp's enthusiasm might've gotten giddily overworked. How else can you explain the suggestion of a Daryl Hall fronted King Crimson? They became fast friends, by the admission of both parties, and would come to be quite close. Hall even lived at Fripp's house in England for awhile. You can imagine the two sharing a candlelit dinner one evening as Hall speculates over the lobster bisque how their musical pairing could be interesting. Fripp, like many an over-unctuous new lover, may've heard only he wanted to hear and took this speculation as a sign of true love for the concept.

Thus began Fripp's long walk up the side of heartbreak's volcano. Later, of course, he'd have to face the awful truth when Hall chose not to jump off the gravy train of Hall and Oates Inc. Even worse, you can imagine poor Robert's plunge into the lava after hearing the news from his answering machine or, worse, mentioned in the press (Hall acting a la Rudy Guiliani).

Woe to the days before texting and e-mail.

Anyway, Fripp would lick his wounds and go on to collaborate with luminaries like Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Blondie, et al. on his way to rebuilding a successful
new Adrian Belew fronted Crismo. After this brief experimental interlude, Hall would go on to even greater success in the H & O hit factory and rule the mainstream with a chain of mega-sellers throughout much of the '80s.

From an interview with Hall posted at Pitchfork, was this Fripp quote:

As for Hall & Oates, they are a very profitable group. They limit their format and possibilities on purpose as part of a commercial compromise they accept.

To which Hall responded:
Yeah. Robert was being a girl. He got very burned by this all. We had a very close relationship, and my manager at the time, Tommy Mottola, came into it, and Robert got really hurt by it.

(Hall, clearly, sees himself as a top.) Anyway, if you ever wondered what a proggier Daryl Hall might sound like, this'll probably be your best chance.


PatrickAei said...

You're wrong on several things.

For one thing, Robert Fripp was a Hall and Oates fan. If he wasn't he would not have made an album with Daryl Hall.

Another, you're attempting to make Hall out to be some sort of egocentric jerk. He's not.

The only person who suggested the idea about Daryl Hall being in King Crimson, which is not entirely accurate as Fripp didn't want to start Crimson again, is Fripp. He wanted to start a band called "Discipline" with Hall. As anyone who has ears can attest, the 80's incarnation of King Crimson doesn't reflect their previous output at all. That group wouldn't have been the same without Adrian Belew. It wouldn't have sounded anything like the eighties trilogy with Daryl Hall, and probably wouldn't have been called King Crimson, either.

If Daryl Hall and Fripp were such good friends, do you think he'd really let Fripp know that he didn't want to start a band through an answering machine message or through the press? No. Fripp even played with Hall and Oates on their later tour.

If you really want to write a sensationalist blog on Fripp, try the recent drama with David Bowie not contacting him to play on his new album. ...or even Fripp remastering the KC albums for the second time, selling his music at outrageous prices, and then getting upset at a streaming website for handing his music out for free.

PatrickAei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jellyrollfortheearhole said...

I've enjoyed Daryl Hall's various work over the years (especially what you might call the H&O pre-classic period). If I've characterized him as a "jerk" it wasn't my intention.

When one write's this stuff––as I'm sure you know––in hopes of being entertaining one may take an overly assertive POV just for its own sake. (My own version of egocentric jerkitude, I suppose. Hey, I'm an emotional being. But really, "sensationalist?" That's kind of harsh. How about "dramatic?")

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I checked out some of your work on YouTube (assuming you're the same Patrick Aei) and I dug it.


PatrickAei said...

Yes, sir, I am the Patrick Aei musician.

I write my own music blog, because I generally don't like journalists and other bloggers, so I know about slightly sensationalizing something for entertainment purposes. There are a lot of writers out there who are dramatic for the sake of being so. I apologize if my harsh words offended you.

I mean, I was just surfing around for more info on the Fripp/Hall album, because there's not much info on the actual making of the album. There are a lot of things that I'd like to know. As a guitar player, who has almost outright stolen ideas from Fripp, I'd like to know how he got sounds on this album that he never used again. I'd like to know how the writing sessions went between the two men, and if there was any actual intent on forming a band together. I just happened to find your blog entry.

It's funny how Google works, isn't it? You can write on something, forget about it, and a year later it will be one of the top search results. Lately, I've gotten a lot of traffic for a post I made on Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic, and found out my post is on the second page of Google results for his name. I didn't even expect people to read it.

So, that contributed to my response; just sheer frustration at how little information there is.

jellyrollfortheearhole said...

From what I've read, Fripp was enthusiastic for a Hall-Crimson collab while Hall was content enough being the "top" in H&O. Hall blamed Tommy Mottola for giving Fripp the boot from his life. (You can imagine Mariah Carey's ex Mottola having seizures over the prospect of losing his platinum gravy train to the margins of record geekdom.) Hall was a little bitchy with his "being a girl" comment tho. I agree with you about Fripp: he's certainly one of the best guitarists of his generation. He may be more than a guitarist, he could be an institution. Even Hendrix was fan. I must say the Belew was no slouch either.

Post me your blog link and I'll check you out.

PatrickAei said...


Patrick O said...

But don't steal it either.